What makes couples happy? Marital and life satisfaction among ethnic groups in the Netherlands
Van de Vijver, Fons J.R.
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This study examines predictors of life satisfaction that are more distal (spousal normative beliefs and attitudes) and more proximal (marital satisfaction) in 404 mainstreamers, 375 Western, and 195 non-Western immigrants living in the Netherlands. In the immigrant groups, we used ethnic and mainstream identity and perceived discrimination as distal predictors. Results revealed that path models in which proximal variables mediated the relation between distal variables and outcomes were valid in all groups. Significant, yet small group differences were found between the non-Western immigrants and Western immigrants on all scales (to a lesser extent between non-Western immigrants and mainstreamers). Traditional marital types and perceived discrimination were more prevailing in the non-Western group, whereas a harmonious marital type, mainstream identity, and marital satisfaction were more salient in the Western group. The mainstream Dutch group was similar to the Western group in all marriage-related aspects. Validity of marriage models were discussed in light of a bottom-up approach to life satisfaction. Group differences and similarities were discussed in terms of differences in family formation and structure as well as adjustment to the Dutch society.