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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Rural Sociology

First Advisor

Geoffrey Grant


Power is one of the most fundamental aspects of all types of human relationships, and marriages are certainly no exception. Power is a complex, multi-dimensional phenonomenon [sic], and a number of different variables have been thought to contribute to power in the marital context. Work by Blumberg (1984, 1988, 1991) has resulted in a theoretical model for the study of power in marriages which places the income of the wife, in absolute and relative terms, at the crux of the issue of marital power. In this model, income is the primary source of marital power, but only after it is filtered through several levels of "discount factors"--other variables which have the potential to alter the relationship between income and marital power. In order to assess the nature of the relationship between income and marital power, the Blumberg model was used in relation to survey data from the National Survey of Families and Households, conducted at the University of Wisconsin, and including a representative sample of over 13,000 U.S. Households. The data were analyzed statistically to determine whether Blumberg's model, which places income as the primary determinant of marital power, was indeed a valid one with which to conduct marital power research. Results of the study show that while income seems to be the most important determinant of overt types of power, covert power is more closely related to individual ideologies and definitions of the situation. Additionally, examination of the data indicate [sic] the possibility that certain cultural and structural influences act to prevent income from being fully utilized by women as a means of attaining egalitarian power relationships in marriage.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dominance (Psychology)
Sex role
Women -- Economic conditions




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