A Review of the Factors Associated with Marital Satisfaction

  • Zeinab Tavakol
  • Alireza Nikbakht Nasrabadi
  • Zahra Behboodi Moghadam
  • Hamid Salehiniya
  • Elham Rezaei
Keywords: Marriage, Marital Status, Personal Satisfaction, Couples Therapy


Marital satisfaction is one of the common concepts used for assessing happiness and stability in a marriage. It is a multidimensional concept that is affected by several factors. The aim of this study was to review factors influencing marital satisfaction or dissatisfaction. A search through academic electronic databases, including PubMed, ScienceDirect, MEDLINE (Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online), Scopus, Wiley Online Library, Cochrane Library, Google Scholar, and Iranian databases in the period from 2000 to 2015, yielded 250 scientific papers. Related keywords that were used included marital satisfaction, marriage satisfaction, marital adjustment, and couple satisfaction. After reading the titles, 80 papers that satisfied the criteria for inclusion were selected. In general, 80 papers that were eligible to enter the study were reviewed. Following the review of papers, factors deemed to have considerable influence on marital satisfaction were identified as follows: demographic specifications, personality attributes, attachment style, relationship, communication and intimacy, couples’ families, forgiveness and sacrifice, religion, emotional intelligence, personal health, and sexual relations (sex). Family counselors and therapists can benefit from these results to obtain a deeper perception of the foundations of married life and eventually, to help decrease the high divorce rate. Thus, conducting research on marital satisfaction to provide evidence for effecting a management strategy as well as to provide recommendation is indispensable. indispensable.[GMJ.2017;6(3):197-207]DOI:10.22086/gmj.v0i0.641 


Khalatbari J, Ghorbanshiroudi Sh, Niaz Azari K, Bazleh N, Safaryazdi N. The Relationship between Marital Satisfaction (Based on Religious Criteria) and Emotional Stability. Procedia Soc Behav Sci. 2013; 84:869-73.

Hatami H, Habi MB, Akbari A. Assessing the Impact of Religiosity on Marital Satisfaction. J Military Psychology. 2009; 1(1):13-22.

Lotfi Kashani F, Vaziri Sh. The effect of sexual skills training on marital satisfaction. Procedia Soc Behav Sci. 2011; 30:2581-5.

Javanmard GhH, Mohammadi Garegozlo R. The Study of Relationship between Marital Satisfaction and Personality Characteristics in Iranian Families. Procedia Soc Behav Sci. 2013; 84:396-9.

Fatehizadeh M, Ahmadi A. The relationship between marital satisfaction and communication patterns of couples in Isfahan University. Journal of Family Research. 2006; 1(2):109-20.

Shiota MN, Levenson RW. Birds of feather don't always fly farthest: similarity in big five personality predicts more negative marital satisfaction trajectories in long-term marriages. Psychol Aging. 2007; 22(4):666-75.

Hatch Laurie R, Bulcroft K. Does Long-Term Marriage Bring Less Frequent Disagreements? Five Explanatory Frameworks. J Fam Issues. 2004; 25(4):465-95.

Amrelahi R, Roshan Chesly R, Shairi MR, Nik Azin A. Marital Conflict, Marital Satisfaction, and Sexual Satisfaction: Comparison of Women with Relative Marriage and Women with Non-relative Marriage. CPAP. 2013; 2(8):11-22.

Randall AK, Bodenmann G. The role of stress on close relationships and marital satisfaction. Clin Psychol Rev. 2009; 29(2):105-15.

The Civil Registration. Divorce. https://www.sabteahval.ir/default.aspx?tabid=4760 2015 [cited 2016 2016/08/25]; Available from: https://www.sabteahval.ir/default.aspx?tabid=4760.

Darden Cindy A, Ginter Earl J. Life-skills development scale-adolescent form: The theoretical and therapeutic relevance of life. J Ment Health Couns. 1996; 18(2):142-5.

Hughes EG, da Silva AM. A pilot study assessing art therapy as a mental health intervention for subfertile women. Hum Reprod. 2011:deq385.

Smith CA, de Lacey S, Chapman M, Ratcliffe J, Norman RJ, Johnson N, Boothroyd C. Acupuncture to improve live birth rates for women undergoing in vitro fertilization: A protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials. 2012; 13:60.

Shakerian A. Evaluation of the factors influencing marital satisfaction in the students of Islamic Azad Uiversity in Sanandaj. Sci J Kurdistan Univ Med Sci. 2010;14(4):40-9. [Persian]

Jose O, Alfons V. Do demographics affect marital satisfaction? J Sex Marital Ther. 2007; 33(1): 73-85.

Teimourpour N, Moshtagh Bidokhti N, Pourshanbaz A. The Relationship Between Attachment Styles, Marital Satisfaction and Sex Guilt with Sexual Desire in Iranian Women. JPCP. 2012; 1(1):18-29.

Gorchoff SM, John OP, Helson R. Contextualizing change in marital satisfaction during middle-age An 18-year longitudinal study. Psychol Sci. 2008; 19(11):1194-200.

Tabatabaei SM, Panahandeh S, Hasanabadi M, Roshani F, Attari A. Relation between general health and marital satisfaction in employees of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad. J Res Behav Sci. 2012; 10(6):491-9.

Rahmani A, Alahgholi L, Merghati Khuee E. How does sexual satisfaction relate to marital satisfaction among Iranians? Int J Obstet Gynecol. 2009;107(2):S558–9.

Nasehi A, Raeis F, Jafari M, Rahmani M. [The degree of martial compatibility on dormitory resident university students ] . Iran J Psychiatry Clin Psyc. 2004;10(1-2):111-6.

Rahmani A, Merghati Khoei E, Sadeghi N, Allahgholi L. [Relationship between sexual pleasure and marital satisfaction ] . Iran J Nurs. 2011;24(70):82–90.

Shirmohamadi HR. Sexual disorders diagnosis. Tehran: Jam-e-Negar, 2004:187.

Guo B, Huang J. Marital and sexual satisfaction in Chinese families: exploring the moderating effects. J Sex Marital Ther. 2005;31(1):21–9.

Wagheiy Y, Miri MR, Ghasemipour M. A survey about effective factors on the marital satisfaction in employees of two Birjand Universities. Journal of Birjand University of Medical Sciences. 2009;16(4):43–50.

Orathinkal J, Vansteenwegen A. The Effect of Forgiveness on Marital Satisfaction in Realtion to Marital Stability. Contemp Fam Ther. 2006; 28(2):251-60.

Pepping ChA, Halford WK. Attachment and relationship satisfaction in expectant first-time parents: The mediating role of relationship enhancing behaviors. J Res Pers .2012; 46(6):770-4.

Madanianan L, Syed Mansor SMSh. Marital Satisfaction and Demographic Traits in an Emigrant Sample: Rasch Analysis. Procedia Soc Behav Sci. 2013;107:96–103.

Jadiri J, Jan bozorgy M, Tabatabai K. Examine the relationship between marital satisfaction (based on religion) with demographic factors. Journal of Religion and Psychology. 2009: 2(5). [Persian]

Rahmani A, Merghati Khoei E, Alah Gholi L. Sexual Satisfaction and its Relation to Marital Happiness in Iranians. Iran J Public Health. 2009; 38(4):77-82.

Zare Z, Golmakani N, Shareh H, Shakeri MT, Khadem Ghaebi N. Factors Related to Marital Satisfaction in Primiparous Women during Postpartum Period. JMRH. 2014; 2(2):120-7.

Halford Wk. Brief therapy for couples: Helping partners help themselves, Persian Translators: Tabrizi M, Kardani M, Foroogh J, 1st edi. Fara Ravan Publication, Tehran, 2005:15-30.

Ziaei T, Jannati Y, Mobasheri E, Taghavi T, Abdollahi H, Modanloo M, et al. The relationship between marital and sexual satisfaction among married women employees at Golestan University of Medical Sciences, Iran. Iran J Psychiatry Behav Sci 2014; 8(2): 44-51.

Duncan GD. The relationship between trait forgiveness and marital adjustment in heterosexual individuals. Dissertation of Capella university, 2008.

Zainah AZ, Nasir R, Ruzy Suliza H, Noraini Md Y. Effects of Demographic Variables on Marital Satisfaction. Asian Soc Sci. 2012; 8(9):46-9.

Bradbury T, Fincham FD, Beach SRH. Research on the Nature and Determinants of Marital Satisfaction: A Decade in Review. J Marriage Fam. 2000; 62(4):964-80.

Shopiro AF, Gottman JM, Carrere S. The baby and marriage. University of Washington. J Fam Psychol. 2000; 14(1):59-70.

Schramm D, Harris VW. Marital Quality and Income: An Examination of the Influence of Government Assistance. J Fam Econ Issues. 2011; 32(3):437-48.

Twenge JM, Campbell WK, Foster CA. Parenthood and marital satisfaction: A meta-analytic review. J Marriage Fam. 2003; 65(3):574-83.

Salter M. Altered body image. 2nd edi, London, Beqlliere Publicat ion, 1987:49-65.

Marci R, Graziano A, Piva I, Monte GL, Soave I, Giugliano E, Caracciolo S. Procreative sex in infertile couples: the decay of pleasure? Health Qual Life Outcome. 2012; 10:140-6.

Reis S, Xavier MR, Coelho R, Montenegro N. Psychological impact of single and multiple courses of assisted reproductive treatments in couples: A comparative study. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2013; 171(1):61–6.

Hirschberger G, Srivastava S, Marsh P, Cowan CP, Cowan PhA. Attachment, Marital Satisfaction, and Divorce during the First Fifteen Years of Parenthood. Pers Relat. 2009; 16(3):401-20.

Onyishi EI, Sorokowski P, Sorokowska A, Pipitonec RN. Children and marital satisfaction in a non-Western sample: having more children increases marital satisfaction among the Igbo people of Nigeria. Evol Hum Behav. 2012; 33(6):771-4.

Lawrence E, Rothman AD, Cobb RJ, Rothman MT, Bradbury TN. Marital satisfaction across the transition to parenthood. J Fam Psychol. 2008; 22(1):41-50.

McCrea RR, Costa PT. A contemplated revision of NEO five factor inventory. Pers Indiv Differ. 2004; 36(3):587-96.

Abbasi R, Rasoulzadeh Tabatabei K. Marital satisfaction and personality differences: The role of personality factors. Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 2009; 3(3):237-42.

Shackelford R, Besser M, Goetz DF. For better or for worse: Marital well-being of newlyweds. J Counsel Psychol. 2007; 14:223-42.

Rogge RD, Bradbury THN, Hahlweg K, Engl J, Thurmaier F. Predicting marital distress and dissolution: refining the two-factor hypothesis. J Fam Psychol. 2006; 20(1):156-9.

Russell RJ, Wells PA. Personality and qualify of marriage. Br J Psychol. 1994; 85(2):161-8.

Miri M, Miri MR, Sharifzadeh GhR, Miri M. Evaluating the impact of relationship enrichment education on marital satisfaction of primary school female teachers in Birjand, 2012. Modern Care Journal. 2014; 11(3):177-85.

Stoeber J, Stoeber FS. Domains of perfectionism: Prevalence and relationships with perfectionism, gender,age and satisfaction with life. Pers Indiv Differ. 2009; 46(4):530-5.

Kim L A "Perfeat" storm: perfectionism, forgiveness, and marital satisfaction . Regent University. 2011.

Mikulincer M, Shaver PR. Attachment in adulthood: Structure, dynamics, and change. New York: Guilford, 2007:51-2.

Davila J, Bradbury TN. Attachment insecurity and the distinction between unhappy spouses who do and do not divorce. J Fam Psychol. 2001; 15(3):371-93.

Chung MS. Pathways between attachment and marital satisfaction: The mediating roles of rumination, empathy, and forgiveness. Pers Indiv Differ. 2014; 70:246-51.

Hollist CS, Miller RB. Perceptions of attachment style and marital quality in middle marriage. Fam Relat. 2005; 54:46-57.

Pearce ZJ. Attributions as a mediator between attachment style and couple relationship outcomes. Dissertation of Griffith University, 2005:4.

Schen D, Shiver FR. A review of adult attachment theory, psychodynamics and couples relationship. In: Johanson SM, Whiffen VE. Attachment processes in couple and family therapy. Bahrami F. (translator). Tehran: Danjeh. 2009:45-82. [Persian]

Gordon KC, Hughes FM, Tomcik ND, Dixon LJ, Litzinger SC. Widening spheres of impact: the role of forgiveness in marital and family functioning. J Fam Psychol, 2009; 23(1):1-13.

Amiri M, Farhoodi F, Abdolvand N, Rezaie Bidakhavidi A. A study of the relationship between Big-five personality traits and communication styles with marital satisfaction of married students majoring in public universities of Tehran. Procedia Soc Behav Sci. 2011; 30:685-9.

Aliakbari-Dehkordi M, Keyghobadi SH. The relationship of sexual function with mental health and marital adjustment in women referred to Tehran Psychiatry institute Dissertation of Payame Noor University. 2009.

Litzinger S, Krisina G. Exploring relationships among communication, sexual satisfaction, and marital satisfaction. J Sex Marital Ther. 2005; 31:409-24.

Vanderbleek L, Robinson EH, Casado-Kehoe M, Young ME. The relationship between play and couple satisfaction and stability. The Family Journal. 2011; 19(2):132-9.

Tavakol Z, Behboodi Moghadam Z, Nikbakht Nasrabadi A, Iesazadeh N, Esmaeili M. Marital satisfaction through the lens of Iranian women: a qualitative study. Pan Afr Med J. 2016; 25:208.

Masoumi SZ, Poorolajal J, Keramat A, Moosavi SA. Prevalence ofDepression among Infertile Couples in Iran: A Meta-Analysis Study. Iran J Public Health. 2013; 42(5):458.

Samadaee-Gelehkolaee K, McCarthy Barry W, Khalilian A, Hamzehgardeshi Z, Peyvandi S, Elyasi F, et al. Factors Associated With Marital Satisfaction in Infertile Couple: A Comprehensive Literature Review. Global J Health Sci. 2016; 8(5):96-109.

Alexander AL. Relationship resources for coping with unfulfilled standards in dating relationships: Commitment, satisfaction, and closeness. J Soc Pers Relat. 2008; 25(5):725-47.

Sarkisian N, Gerstel N. Kin support among Blacks and Whites: Race and family organization. Am Socio Rev. 2004; 69:812-37.

Lincoln KD, Chae DH. Social support, negative interaction, and lifetime major depressive disorder among African Americans and Caribbean Blacks. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. Published online ahead of print.

McNulty JK, Forgiveness in marriage: Putting the benefits into context. J Fam Psychol. 2008; 22(1):171-5.

Durkheim E. The Elementary forms of Religious Life, 2nd edi, Translator: B. Parham,. Tehran: Markaz publication. 2005.

Amato PR, Rogers SJ. A longitudinal study of marital problems and subsequent divorce. J Marriage Fam. 1997; 59(3):612-24.

Khodayari Fard M, Shahabi R, Akbari Zardkhaneh S. Religiosity and Marital Satisfaction. Procedia Soc Behav Sci. 2013; 82:307-11.

DeMaris A, Mahoney A, Pargament KI. Sanctification of marriage and general religiousness as buffers of the effects of marital inequity. J Fam Issues. 2010; 31(10):1255-78.

Danesh A, Kermani Mamazandi Z. Effect of religious attitude and Sensation on marital adjustment of married teachers Pakdasht. Journal of University Al-Zahra. 2011; 7(2):129-54. [Persian]

Bar-On R, Parker J. The handbook of emotional intelligence: Theory, development, assessment, and application at home, school, and in the workplace. Jossey-Bass, 2000.

Goleman D, Emotional intelligence. New York, Bantam books, 1998.

Lavalekar A, Kulkarni P, Jagtap P. Emotional intelligence and marital satisfaction. Journal of Psychological Researches. 2010; 5:185-94.

Coombs RH, Marital status and personal well- being. A literature Review. Fam Relat. 1991; 40(1):97-102.

Maltby J, Day L, McCutcheon LE, Gillett R, Houran J, Ashe DD. Personality and coping: a context for examining celebrity worship and mental health. Br J Psychol. 2004; 95(Pt 4):411-28.

King AC, Bernady NC. Stressful events, personality and mood disturbance: gender difference in alcoholics and problem drinkers. Addict Behav. 2003; 28(1):171-87.

Kurdek LA. Predicting the timing of separation and marital satisfaction: An 8-year prospective longitudinal study. J Marriage Fam. 2002; 64(1):163-79.

Sánchez-Fuentesa MdM, Santos-Iglesias P, Sierra JC. A systematic review of sexual satisfaction. Int J Clin Health Psychol. 2014; 14(1):67−75.

Tavakol Z, Mirmolaei ST, Mansouri A, Momeni-Movahed Z, Salehiniya H, Correlates of sexual satisfaction among Iranians women attending South Tehran health centers: A cross-sectional study. J Anal Res Clin Med. 2014; 2(3):135-41.

How to Cite
Tavakol, Z., Nikbakht Nasrabadi, A., Behboodi Moghadam, Z., Salehiniya, H., & Rezaei, E. (2017). A Review of the Factors Associated with Marital Satisfaction. Galen Medical Journal, 6(3), 197-207. https://doi.org/10.31661/gmj.v6i3.641
Review Article