ArticlePublished on 09.01.2022

Cultural diversity within couples: Risk or chance? A meta-analytic review of relationship satisfaction

Previous research has suggested that couples with different sociocultural backgrounds (DISC) are less stable and less satisfied than culturally homogeneous couples, putatively because of the stressors these couples face, for example, discrimination. However, a review of the literature suggests that findings across studies are somewhat
mixed, and correlates of different sociodemographic variables are potentially important. We identified and
reviewed 20 studies that examined relationship satisfaction in couples with different and homogeneous socio-cultural backgrounds so that comparisons between the two groups were possible and effect sizes could be computed. Overall, our meta-analysis found no evidence for DISC couples being less satisfied than culturally homogeneous couples, challenging this assumption. Only a few effect sizes, with large confidence intervals, suggested lower relationship satisfaction in DISC couples than in culturally homogenous couples, and these differences may be explained by demographic correlates. Based on our findings, we provide recommendations for
relationship researchers conducting research on DISC couples.