This study tests status inconsistency theory by examining the associations between wives' and husbands' relative statuses--that is, earnings, work-time, occupational, and educational inconsistencies--and marital quality and global happiness. The author asks three questions: (a) Is status inconsistency associated with marital quality and overall happiness? (b) Do those who hold traditional or egalitarian gender ideologies react differently to status inconsistency? (c) Are these patterns replicable across three data sets, gathered at different points in time? Data are from the Marital Instability Over the Life Course Survey (1980), the National Survey of Families and Households (1987-1988), and the General Social Survey (1996). With only one exception, status inconsistency is not associated with marital quality or global happiness, even among those who hold the most traditional gender ideologies. (Author abstract)
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Does Status Inconsistency Matter for Marital Quality?