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Abstract

Many studies have established that the presence and number of children have a negative impact on marital satisfaction. Those that maintain an evolutionary perspective may find this result surprising. It is argued that a couple that has successfully reproduced together ought to have heightened satisfaction. The majority of studies confirming this negative impact children bring have been on samples of participants from individualist cultures such as the United States and Canada. This severely limits the generalizability of this finding. In order to determine the relevance of cultural type, collectivist and individualist, we conducted a meta-analysis that aggregated the findings of fifteen studies that contained samples from collectivist cultures. All studies used in this meta-analysis contained samples from outside the United States. The purpose of this presentation is to discuss the findings from our meta-analysis on the impact of children on marital satisfaction. The present meta-analysis found a small, negative relationship between children and marital satisfaction (d = −.11, r = −.05) that is significantly lower than another meta-analysis conducted using samples from individualistic cultures. Maternal age and type of measure were significant moderators. It may be that collectivist cultures foster shared childcare within the extended family, and this arrangement buffers stressors that people from individualist cultures are more likely to face.

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