Dew, J., Trujillo, S., & Saxey, M. (2022). Predicting marital financial deception in a national sample: A person‐centered approach. Family Relations.


Examine whether latent classes of marital financial deception exist and what might predict class membership.


Many individuals have reported financially deceiving their spouse in descriptive studies; estimates range between 40% and 60% depending on the study. However, to date no study has examined the nature of marital financial deception in a multivariate context regarding type, frequency, and so on. Further, scholars have not yet studied predictors of marital financial deception in a multivariate context.


We used national data and seven financial deception behaviors for the latent class analysis. We also used multinomial regression to predict latent class membership (N = 946 individuals).


Three classes emerged. Spouses who almost never deceived their spouse, spouses who frequently engaged in most of the deception behaviors, and spouses who sometimes hid minor purchases from or lied generally about their financial behaviors to their spouse. The multinomial logistic regression revealed that perceived marital stability, marital duration, and trust in one’s spouse was negatively associated with membership in the minor or major deception groups. Conversely, sexual and emotional infidelity was positively associated with being in the major and minor financial deception groups. Hispanic and Black non-Hispanic participants were less likely than White non-Hispanic participants to be in the minor and major financial deception groups.


Although individuals financially deceived their spouses, most were either generally truthful or only engaged in minor types infrequently. Aspects of marital commitment predicted group membership.


The frequency and severity of marital financial deception is associated with marital commitment.