Conflict over money is one of the most commonly cited topics of marital disagreements (Oggins, 2003). However, little empirical research has examined how marital couples communicate about financial issues, specifically, and how these financial communication messages contribute to, or detract from, marital satisfaction. Knowledge about how couples communicate regarding financial issues is of significance to conflict scholars because it would allow us to understand the potential detriments of certain financial conflict message patterns and how these patterns ultimately affect one’s marital satisfaction. Married individuals (not marital dyads) were recruited online to participate in an online survey about their financial communication patterns within his or her marriage. In the present study of 326 married individuals, we found that constructive financial conflict messages were positively associated with financial harmony, marital satisfaction, and financial communication satisfaction. Destructive financial conflict messages, the demand-withdraw financial conflict message pattern, and mutually avoiding financial conflict were each negatively associated with financial harmony, marital satisfaction, and financial communication satisfaction. In addition, financial communication satisfaction mediated the relationship between each of the financial conflict message patterns and marital satisfaction. The current study lays empirical groundwork for developing a theoretical framework for understanding marital interaction patterns and the effects these patterns have on marital satisfaction.
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