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Marriage Does Not Foster Similarity

Marriage Does Not Foster SimilarityContrary to popular opinion, couples do not become more similar over the course of a marriage.

The similarities actually begin upfront as people typically select a spouse based on shared personality traits.

Michigan State University researchers share their research in the latest issue of the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

“Existing research shows that spouses are more similar than random people,” said Mikhila Humbad, lead investigator.

“This could reflect spouses’ influence on each other over time, or this could be what attracted them to each other in the first place. Our goal in conducting this study was to help resolve this debate.”

The researchers analyzed the data of 1,296 married couples, one of the largest such studies to date, said Humbad, MSU doctoral candidate in clinical psychology.

The data came from the Minnesota Center for Twin and Family Research.

The researchers wanted to know if husbands and wives become more similar as the marriage progressed.

They examined a host of personality characteristics and found that, in most cases, the couples did not become more alike with more years of marriage.

The conclusion: Spousal similarity is better explained by selection than gradual convergence.

The one exception to this pattern was aggression.

“It makes sense if you think about it,” Humbad said. “If one person is violent, the other person may respond in a similar fashion and thus become more aggressive over time.”

The research could have implications for future spouses as well as their offspring.

“Marrying someone who’s similar to you may increase the likelihood that you’ll pass those traits on to your children,” Humbad said.

The findings also come amid the backdrop of a booming matchmaking industry in which companies attempt to match people based on similar characteristics, she noted.

Source: Michigan State University

Marriage Does Not Foster Similarity

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Marriage Does Not Foster Similarity. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 25, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2010/08/26/marriage-does-not-foster-similarity/17285.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.