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The Korean Journal of Woman Psychology

Economic Pressure and Couple Intimacy: Taking Multiple Perspectives and Conflict Response Behavior as Mediators among the Low Income Husband and Wife


Economic pressure narrows social cognition that facilitates coping with marital conflict as well as couple intimacy. Thus this study examined the marital processes linking economic pressure to the cognitive-behavioral mechanism, i.e., taking multiple perspectives(MP) and conflict response behaviors(CRB) that, in turn, affect couple intimacy among 183 low-income couples residing in Seoul. Given the gender differences in biobehavioral responses to stress as marked by a pattern of “tend-and-befriend” among women and of “fight-or-flight” among men this study also investigated how such causal paths differ across gender. As expected, results of structural equation modeling analyses supported a full mediation model for the husband. In this group, economic pressure was linked to less of MP that, in turn, caused both the decrease of constructive CRB and the increase of negative CRB, thus resulting in the reduction of couple intimacy. For the wife, data supported a partial mediation model in which the direct effect of economic pressure on couple intimacy was significant. In the wife group economic pressure did not contract MP, as suggested by the stress response theory, and directly reduced constructive CRB that, in turn, affected couple intimacy. Although within both groups, MP, as expected, promoted constructive CRB and decreased negative CRB, suggesting its potential as a psychological resource, its positive effect was cancelled out in the husband group due to the impact of economic pressure. However, in the wife group, MP significantly contributed to couple intimacy through constructive CRB. Results of the multigroup analyses suggested a significant gender difference in only one path leading from negative CRB to couple intimacy. While negative CRB decreased couple intimacy significantly among the husband, it did not show such an effect among the wife. Finally, based on these results, implications for theory development and directions for future studies were discussed.

저소득층 부부, 경제압박, 관점의 다각화, 부부관계의 친밀성, 갈등반응 행동, 인지-행동기제, low-income couple, economic pressure, multiple perspectives, intimacy of couple relationship, conflict response behavior, cognitive-behavioral mechanism



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The Korean Journal of Woman Psychology