In-Law Relationships Before and After Marriage: Husbands, Wives, and Their Mothers-in-Law

Karen L. Fingerman, Megan Gilligan, Laura VanderDrift, Lindsay Pitzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Relationships with in-laws can play an important role in individuals' lives. Dimensions of the early relationship and expectations of the future relationship may affect subsequent in-law ties. Men and women engaged to be married and their mothers (N = 240) completed interviews prior to and 6 to 8 months following the wedding. At time 1, participants reported behavioral emotional and cognitive dimensions of the relationship and open-ended expectations of their future tie. Multilevel models revealed that when the parties had individual contact and positive feelings before the wedding, ties were stronger following marriage. For coded open-ended descriptions, if family members expressed concern that their in-law relationship would not be close or if they mentioned other social partners as causing potential future problems, they reported more negative relationship quality after the wedding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-125
Number of pages20
JournalResearch in Human Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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