When Men Become Upset. Economic Upheaval and Relationship Conflict in Comparative Perspective

María José González, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Clara Cortina , Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Maike Van Damme, Centre D'Estudis Demografics (CED)

The dynamics that lead to conflict between the partners are complex and multidimensional.. One of the dimensions that might drive conflict, as suggested by the partners’ status inconsistencies theory, is the tension produced by the couples’ relative resources Educational and occupational advantaged positions of female spouses disrupt traditional patriarchal roles and this disruption can turn into conflict or increase disagreement between the partners. Using data from waves 1 and 2 of the Gender and Generation Survey (GGS) for 4 countries (France, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria) our article combines cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis to i) identify the main variables associated with couples experiencing high conflict within the relationship and ii) explore whether a change towards high conflict within couples is related to the occurrence of loss of male power in the relationship. Our results indicate that when male spouse holds an inferior position the partners are more likely to report high relationship conflict. We also find that having egalitarian values is negatively associated with high conflict and it attenuates the effect of the male spouse holding and inferior position. Finally we observe that, for men, the loss of their job and the upgrade of his partner status is related to transition into high conflict relationship. These results point at the importance of considering gender roles and values and the challenges to the system of hegemonic masculinity to understand relationship dynamics.

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 Presented in Session P1. Poster Session Fertility, Family and the Life Course