Marital harmony is the globally important social phenomenon, which plays vital role in our life. Successful marital relationship based on many factors but economic resources are considered to be most essential. Various studies have been conducted on this issue Behnke & Mcdermind, (2004) studied economic factor in relation to family well-being e.g Voyandoff (1990) studied economic distress and family relations. Ross & Mirowsky (1992) and Yadollahi (2009) studied that employment of spouses and the sense of control in various types of stressors of marital life. Diener and Diener (2001) investigated that wealth is related to many positive outcomes in life. Jorgensen & Butler (2010) reported various ethical issues among the couples with reference to their psychological conflicts other than economic.
Many researchers have concluded the negative effects of economic hardship on marital quality and stability (e.g. Voydanoff, 1990; Oggins, 2003; Miller et al., 2003). Gudmunson et al (2007) found, economic strain is directly linked to increase couple disagreements. Kerkmann, Thomas, Jean, & Scot's study (as cited in Pimentel 2009) reported that financial problems significantly contributed to lower reported marital satisfaction among married couples. Economic strain is directly linked to increased couple disagreements and has direct impact on marital adjustment (Kinnunen and Feldt, 2004).All these findings are likely to reflect the fact that financial issues are a frequent trigger point for conflict among the couples led to more frequent fights and decrease in marital harmony (Gudmunson et al., 2007). Study performed by Brody et al (1994) has proved that family income was associated with higher marital happiness and lower marital conflict. Similarly, the study by Amato & Rogers (1997) demonstrated that a low husband's income and employment factor is a significantly associated with marital problems and low marital quality and it increases the likelihood of marital disruption (South and Spitz, 1986). Looking the research findings it is reasonable to hypothesized that financial satisfaction and marital satisfaction is directly correlated (Miller's study as cited in Frisby, 2007). Recent study by Nunes, (2008) also proves that marital satisfaction is mainly associated with economic factor.
In a recent Mori survey, 35 percent of women and 26 percent of men agreed that the economic downturn had "reduced the quality of their marriage" (Government Equalities Office, 2009). Another study supported the relationship between finances and marital satisfaction by identifying that 15% of marital satisfaction was predicted by financial factors (Kerkmann, Thomas,Lown, &Allgood ,2000). Survey conducted by Frisby (2007) also shows that family income affect the degree of marital satisfaction.
Researchers sought to define and identify causal relationships between economic stress and relationships between husband and wife and parent and child. James( 2009)proposed a "family stress model" in which economic pressures cause adults emotional distress, which disrupts both the marital relationship and parenting. Marshall and colleagues (1997); Zedlewski (2002); Behnke & Mcdermind (2004) found that low family income and limited benefits not only have bad effect on mutual relations of couples but it also has negative influences on child and family well-being. Jacobs & Silverberb (2002) found Maternal disclosure of financial concerns is related to difficulties in adolescent daughters' adjustment and such disclosure acts as a mediator in the relationship between family financial hardship and adolescent daughters' adjustment in a sample of 62 adolescent girls and their recently divorced mothers.
The association between economic stress, individual psychological state and relationship quality may not be the same for all couples. However, for couples that were observed to have better problem-solving skills in a task, high levels of marital conflict did not lead to such high levels of marital dissatisfaction (James, 2009). Blekesaune (2008) used the data from the British Household Panel Survey between 1991 and 2005 and found that low income increased the risk of partnership dissolution. Similar study In Finland conducted by Kinnunen and Feldt (2004) concluded husband's unemployment is strongly associated with his marital adjustment. Financial stress is not, of course, confined to times of recession, but is a continual feature of life for some families. However, in a recession, this is spread more widely (James, 2009).
Conger (1990) proposed that economic hardships and declines in marital satisfaction are mediated through economic pressure, which produces emotional distress and negative marital interaction patterns. Economic hardships engendered feelings of economic pressure. This pressure was related to the emotional distress husbands and wives felt which, consequently, gave rise to more negatively and conflict in the marital relationship.
Grant & Barling (1992) has reported that economic factors are responsible increases violence within family (Straus & Gelles, 1986; Obradovic & Odradovic, (2006).
Evidence has suggested that people with higher income felt happier, more satisfied and adjusted with their lives because higher income could be used to have a better lifestyle through greater leisure opportunities and improved nutritional intake, fewer uncertainties, better access to health services and improved living environment through better housing and the ability to move to places that are more prosperous (Ayub,,& Iqbal, 2009). Social stress research has repeatedly identified low income and income loss as a major social stressor (Elder, 1974). Much of the marital researches done before 1980 identified financial problems as one of the primary reasons for couple's marital dissatisfaction and dissolution (Albrecht, 1979; Levinger, 1976). However, although finances remain a potentially problematic issue for couples, but later studies suggest that financial problems may be less influential than previously believed (Andersen, 2000; Kitson & Sussman, 1982; Thurnher, Fennnn, Melichar, & Chiriboga, 1983; Amato & Rogers, 1997) thus inflating the perceived importance of financial distress as predictor for marital dissolution (Kendal, 2003 cited in Dean, et al 2005). Money is one of the major causes of frustration in marriage and family relationships; there is a significant relationship between finance and happily married relationships. In a study conducted by the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of people who came to the organization for debt or budget counseling, 60 percent of the married respondents reported fighting about money with their spouses. (Washburn,Carolyn.,& Christensen2008).
Marriages stressed by economic uncertainties have also been more likely to be disrupted (South and Spitz, 1986). Dean (2005) explored possible linkages between financial problems and divorce and marital conflict. Many studies has concluded that couples facing more financial obstacles and spending less time together are more at risk for divorce (Poortman 2005; Cleek & Pearson, 1985). Sayer concluded that , the transition to divorce is associated with economic stressors for most women (as cited in Craig & Behnke ,2008).
Main focus of this study was to find the effect of economic resources on marital adjustment. It has been hypothesized that better economic resources lead to better marital life and resultantly improves the quality of marital adjustment. In this study, economic resources and marital adjustment were used as independent and dependent variables respectively. The effect of economic resources on marital adjustment was investigated by making the comparison between married women from nuclear family system and joint family system which is also an important source of conflicts among the spouses in Pakistan. The research design for the present study was quantitative, where as cross sectional research design was employed to compare and investigate the data. This study was carried out in to three phases. In first phase, two types of married women were categorized, one, working women and the second non-working women (i.e. housewives). At the second stage, personal data was collected with the help of "bio-data form" i.e. monthly income, family system. At the third phase sample was selected and data was collected through survey from Abbottabad city from a sample of 200 married women selected on a simple random technique. The first simple of 100 working women was drawn, which was further divided into; living in nuclear family (n=60) and living in joint family system (n=40). The second sample of 100 non -working women was drawn which was equally divided in nuclear family system and joint family system.
In the present study ‘sub scales ‘Economic' and ‘General pattern of adjustment' of Marital Adjustment Scale-Urdu (MAS-U) (Kazmi , 2002) was used for data collection. MAS-U is an attempt to establish a framework from which marital adjustment can be estimated in Pakistani culture by the researcher and practitioner. MAS-U was designed and intended to measure marital adjustment in Pakistani culture. All other marital scales are in English language and their cultural adaptation is quite laborious phenomenon. The MAS-U is a standardized instrument in Urdu language and thus is able to evoke real response from the interviewees. MAS-U is a reliable instrument the determine the degree of (1) Spouses interpersonal frustration and dissatisfaction which quit common in our culture, even rational reasons elicits or not; (2) Spouse's capability to express their feelings on various issues; (3) Spouses' satisfaction within available economic resources and their style of non vocal communication ; (4) Spouse's specific communication style about the routine marital life issues; (5) Women's satisfaction within existing family systems their approach towards family systems common in Pakistan. The MAS-U consisted of 126 items that loaded on four factors. Participants marked their responses on a Likert scale ranging from 1 to 5 (Strongly agree, Agree, Undecided, Disagree, Strongly disagree). The internal consistency of MAS-U has been reported with a Cronbach alpha of 0.82. Along with some evidence of construct validity was also determined. Whereas, for the ‘Economic' Cranach alpha is 0.9 and for ‘General pattern of adjustment' it is 0.82.
Procedure of the study:
To collect data for the present study 200 married women were selected in which 100 were working married women and 100 were non-working married women. The Marital Adjustment Scale was administered personally by the researcher in face to face fashion. Purpose of study was explained to each participant that the research was the part of thesis work and the information they given will be remained confidential and only uses for research purpose. The respondents were asked to response as strongly agree, agree, undecided, disagree and strongly disagree. In the present study, to explore the economic resources of working and non-working women, income was taken into consideration. Husband's income was also used while measuring the economic status. For measuring the economic resources of workingwomen income of husband and wife both were used. While measuring the economic resources on non-working women only husband's incomes were used.
Analysis and interpretation of the results
After the data collection, the next step was the interpretation of the data. First, the item was assigned the score of one to five for the positive statements and the reversed scoring was used for the items having negative tone. Then the statistical analysis was applied on data. T-test and one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) were applied on data to assess the significance of the results. Total marital adjustment score of the MAS-U ranged from 195 to 300 with mean of 247 (SD=27.2) for workingwomen and 211 to 348 with mean of 272.9 (SD=30.24) for non-workingwomen. The score on economic resources ranged from 16 to 65 with mean of 33.38(SD=11.4) for workingwomen and 18 to 70 with mean of 49.9(SD=12.75) for non-workingwomen. Responses to questionnaire items were coded and enter in computer. The statistical analysis was carried-out by using SPSS .