FSD2130 Family Barometer 2003: Couple Relationships under Strain

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  • Paajanen, Pirjo (Finnish Family Federation. Population Research Institute)


divorce, interpersonal conflict, marriage, marriage dissolution, partnerships (personal), satisfaction

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The survey focused on couple relationships, marriage, and divorce. Views were probed on how important certain factors were to a good couple relationship (e.g. spouses have own friends and hobbies, spouses share many hobbies, good sex, mutual respect). The respondents were also asked whether they agreed with a number of statements relating to couple relationships, and how important certain things (e.g. children, job, hobbies) were to them. One question explored opinions on whether both spouses should participate equally in children's hobbies, household chores, taking care of elderly relatives, etc. The respondents' satisfaction with their current relationship, job, parenthood, financial situation, general health, sex life, etc. were charted. They were asked whom they had turned to when experiencing difficulties in the couple relationship, how often they had had conflicts with their spouse, and in what way these conflicts had been resolved.

Satisfaction with different aspects of the relationship was charted. The respondents still married to their first spouse were asked whether they had ever considered divorce, and the divorced ones were asked whether both spouses had wanted to divorce. Views were probed on what factors the respondents considered might be or had been important for getting divorced (e.g. unfaithfulness, sexual problems, nagging, childlessness, unrealistic expectations, falling in love with someone else). The divorced respondents were asked whether things had improved or got worse after the divorce (e.g. relations with children, friends, ex-spouse or parents, happiness, housing, leisure time), and whether they regretted having got divorced. The respondents still married to their first spouse were asked what had been the most important reasons for staying in the relationship.

Background variables included the respondent's gender, year of birth, how many months had known spouse before getting married, whether cohabited with spouse before marriage and for how long, spouse's year of birth, financial situation of the household in the past two years, R's and spouse's basic education, vocational education, and economic activity, R's current marital status, type of neighbourhood, number and ages of children from the marriage in question. Some variables contained information on R's parents. A distinguishing variable can be used to separate the two respondent groups (the respondents still married to the person they had married in 1995 and the respondents no longer married to the person they had married in 1995).

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