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Title: Cultural adaptation congruence in immigrant spouses is associated with marital quality
Abstract Objective and background

Previous research suggests that cultural adaptation is associated with Mexican‐origin couples' marital outcomes, including marital distress and rates of dissolution. However, research on the marital implications of different types of spousal differences in cultural adaptation often omits important dyadic dynamics (i.e., incongruence between couples and with their partners); this, coupled with existing methodological issues, might contribute to the pattern of mixed findings in the literature.


Using data from 273 Mexican‐origin couples, we conducted response surface analyses to examine how spousal congruence in four adaptation domains (acculturation, enculturation, English proficiency, Spanish proficiency) is associated with wives' and husbands' marital warmth, hostility and satisfaction.


Higher, versus lower, levels of couple matches (except for enculturation) were associated with better marital quality. Mismatches in American (acculturation, English) and Mexican (enculturation, Spanish) orientations were also associated with higher, and lower, marital quality, respectively.

Conclusion and implication

Our findings highlight the importance of examining couple matching, which has historically been understudied. We also suggest that inconsistencies in prior work can be explained by discrepant associations between mismatches in American versus Mexican orientation and relationship outcomes.

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Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Marriage and Family
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 1420-1438
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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