Want to lead a happy married life? A recent study stated that the answer is in one’s genes. Although prior research has hinted that marital quality is, at least partially, impacted by genetic factors and that oxytocin may be relevant to social support, according to recent studies, a variation on specific genes related to oxytocin functioning impact overall marital quality, in part. They are relevant to how partners provide and receive support from each other. The study evaluated whether different genotypes – possible genetic combinations of the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR)- influenced how spouses support one another, which is a key determinant of overall marital quality.
OXTR was targeted because it is related to the regulation and release of oxytocin. For the study, researchers from Binghamton University in the US included nearly 100 couples. Each partner was asked individually to come up with an issue to discuss something they identify as their most salient personal problem that was not related to their partner or partner’s family such as problems at work.
Husbands with a particular genotype were less satisfied with the support they were provided from their wives which suggested that it was also associated with being less satisfied with their marriage. The researchers hope their findings provide the foundation for replication and additional study of OXTR as an enduring determinant of marital functioning.