ERIC Number: ED265429
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Nov
Reference Count: 0
On Gold Diggers: Status Gain or Loss in Age Heterogamous Marriages.
Berardo, Felix M.; And Others
The term "gold digger" is often applied to women and to the younger spouse in marriages with unconventional age diffferences. While this follows the view that women derive their class position from their husbands, the status gain or loss in age heterogamous studies has not been empirically tested. To examine status gain or loss in these marriages, 3,609 age homogamous and heterogamous couples were compared in terms of how the family's current status was related to measures of each of the spouse's inherited and achieved status and the contribution these make to explaining variance in income. Subjects were divided into four groups in which: (1) wives were 4 or more years older than their husbands; (2) husbands and wives were separated by no more than 3 years of age difference in either direction; (3) husbands were 4-10 years older than their wives; and (4) husbands were 11 or more years older than their wives. Data on subjects from the 1976 wave of the Panel of Income Dynamics was subjected to hierarchical multiple regression analysis which revealed that the status of the older spouse did not make a more important contribution toward explained income. For these subjects, in fact, the younger wife's status contributed more toward explained income than did the older husband's status. These findings suggest that the notion that age heterogamy in marriage represents a channel of upward mobility for young women married to older men needs systematic reexamination. (NRB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America (38th, New Orleans, LA, November 22-26, 1985).