Document Type : Original Article


1 AIDS Prevention and Control Committee, State Welfare Organization

2 Department of Education Sciences, School of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Ferdowsi University, Mashhad, Iran

3 Department of Biostatistics, Faculty of Paraclinical Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran


Aims: In the field of family research, previous studies have made great strides toward
understanding the relationship between marital conflict and quality. However, they have
only studied couples in short‑term marriages. Therefore, much remains to be unraveled with
regard to long‑term marriages. We aimed investigate the comparative contribution of aspects
of marital conflict to marital quality in short‑and long‑term marriages in Iranian families.
Materials and Methods: Using random clustered sampling, 400 dyads in intact first marriages
were surveyed across eight provinces of Iran. Complete surveys for both husbands and wives
were returned for 162 households (couple’s response rate: 40.5%). Survey measures included
demographics questionnaire, Barati and Sanai’s Marital Conflict Questionnaire and Blum
and Mehrabian’s Comprehensive Marital Satisfaction Scale. Structural equation modeling
was used to test the actor‑partner interdependence model of marital conflict‑marital quality.
Results: Generalized additive models were incorporated to define what constitutes short‑and
long‑term marriages. Based on the models regressed, duration ≤ 10 years was defined as
short‑term, whereas duration ≥ 25 years was labeled long‑term. In short‑term marriages (n = 44),
decreased sexual relations, increased daily hassles and sidedness in relations with parents were
negatively associated with marital quality in both actor and actor‑to‑partner paths. In long‑term
married couples (n = 46), only increased daily hassles (P < 0.001) and disagreement over
financial affairs (P = 0.005) contributed to actor paths and only sidedness in relationships with
parents showed significant negative association to marital quality in actor‑to‑partner paths.
Conclusions: Different themes of conflict contribute to the diminished level of marital quality
in early and late stages of the marriage. Conflicts over sex, relationship with extended family
and daily hassles are emphasized in the early
years of marriage, while in later years; dispute
over money and daily hassles dominate.


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