Skip to main content
Intellect

Can’t buy me love: Study shows materialistic couples have more money and more problems

New research confirms The Beatles’ lyrical hypothesis and finds that “the kind of thing that money just can’t buy” is a happy and stable marriage.

Scholars at Brigham Young University studied 1,734 married couples across the country. Each couple completed a relationship evaluation, part of which asked how much they value “having money and lots of things.”

The researchers’ statistical analysis showed that couples who say money is not important to them score about 10 to 15 percent better on marriage stability and other measures of relationship quality than couples where one or both are materialistic.

“Couples where both spouses are materialistic were worse off on nearly every measure we looked at,” said Jason Carroll, a BYU professor of family life and lead author of the study.  “There is a pervasive pattern in the data of eroding communication, poor conflict resolution and low responsiveness to each other.”

The findings will be published Oct. 13 in the Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy.

For one in five couples in the study, both partners admitted a strong love of money. Though these couples were better off financially, money was often a bigger source of conflict for them.

“How these couples perceive their finances seems to be more important to their marital health than their actual financial situation,” Carroll said.

And despite their shared materialism, materialistic couples’ relationships were in poorer shape than couples who were mismatched and had just one materialist in the marriage.

The study’s overall findings were somewhat surprising to Carroll because materialism was only measured by self-evaluations.

“Sometimes people can deceive themselves about how important their relationships are to them,” Carroll said. “It’s helpful to step back and look at where you focus your time.”

JasonCarroll[1].jpg

Related Articles

data-content-type="article"

Social media conversations are driven by those on the margins, says new BYU research

November 28, 2022
The study found that most people – moderate Democrats and Republicans – are self-censoring their comments on social media to not create contention, lose friends online, or be perceived a certain way.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
data-content-type="article"

BYU study shows changing population and income patterns in rural Mountain West

November 22, 2022
BYU professors Samuel Otterstrom and Matthew Shumway analyzed population and income trends in the Mountain West region over the past 20 years. Their research confirmed the widening inequalities between less wealthy “Old West” counties known for traditional mining, farming and ranching, and wealthier “New West” counties boasting natural beauty and recreational opportunities like hiking or skiing.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
data-content-type="article"

BYU students learn from the healthiest humans on earth in the blue zone of Ikaria, Greece

November 17, 2022
There are five locations around the globe where people reach the age of 100 at 10 times greater rates than U.S. averages. These Blue Zones, as they are called, are home to the healthiest people on earth:
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText=