Sexual satisfaction, marital quality, and marital instability have been studied over the life course of couples in many previous studies, but less in relation to each other. On the basis of the longitudinal data from 283 married couples, the authors used autoregressive models in this study to examine the causal sequences among these 3 constructs for husbands and wives separately. Results of cross-lagged models, for both husbands and wives, provided support for the causal sequences that proceed from sexual satisfaction to marital quality, from sexual satisfaction to marital instability, and from marital quality to marital instability. Initially higher levels of sexual satisfaction resulted in an increase in marital quality, which in turn led to a decrease in marital instability over time. Effects of sexual satisfaction on marital instability appear to have been mediated through marital quality.
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