A measurement model for subjective marital solidarity: Invariance across time, gender, and life cycle stage

Barbara Stanek Kilbourne, Frank Howell, Paula England

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We use LISREL to assess the measurement properties of a unidimensional indicator of subjective marital solidarity based on four questionnaire items. A rigorously assessed measure containing more than one, yet relatively few items, is solely needed for research on marriage; such a measure can combine high reliability with low cost. Using 1971 and 1978 waves of the Quality of American Life data, we evaluate a measure based on four items: how well the respondent thinks his or her spouse understands him or her, how well the respondent understands his or her spouse, the amount of time spouses spend together in companionate activities, and reported marital satisfaction. With one correlated error term, these items are found to be a unidimensional indicator and to show substantial invariance across gender, survey year, and life cycle stage. We rejected inclusion of an item on how much the couple agrees on finances because this item created invariance by gender and survey year. This item apparently changed its meaning during the 1970s when many women became wage earners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-81
Number of pages20
JournalSocial Science Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1990


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this