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Hypotheses invoking both intra-couple and external social forces have been advanced to explain how partner dissimilarity can influence marital dissolution.In terms of intra-couple dissimilarity, partners with diverse characteristics and family backgrounds may have different attitudes and values regarding marriage and spousal roles (Bumpass and Sweet ).

by socio-economic status or ethnicity), are often at elevated risk of dissolution.For example, dissolution risk of married couples in the UK increased with increasing age differentials between partners, especially when the woman was the older partner (Feng et al. As with other forms of heterogamy, it might be expected that heterogamy effects would increase with increasing social distance between groups, as the distance between partners both attitudinally and in terms of external pressures would be increased (value dissimilarity hypothesis—Dribe and Lundh ).Here we review some examples of intergroup heterogamy and discuss the extent to which they support this hypothesis.Conversely, in cases where heterogamous marriage conforms with social norms, risk of dissolution may be reduced [e.g.couples heterogamous by earnings in which partners conform to traditional husband—breadwinner, wife—homemaker gender roles (Weisshaar ).

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