Aloofness and intimacy of husbands and wives: a cross-cultural study

Ethos Vol/Iss. 3 Published In Pages: 183-207
By Whiting, John W.M., Whiting, Beatrice Blyth


". . . husbands and wives should room together in . . . agricultural societies [with] complex [stratification] that have developed a constabulary and/or professional army as an alternative means of protecting property. . . . Rooming apart is most likely to occur in . . . societies at the middle level of development" (196)


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail


Variable NameVariable Type OCM Term(s)
Cultural ComplexityIndependentNONE
Husband And Wife Rooming ArrangementsDependentSleeping, Household

Related Hypotheses

Main AuthorHypothesis
Whiting, John W.M."We propose that husbands and wives will room apart in those societies where warriors are needed to protect property [i.e. more commonly among farmers and herdsmen than among hunters, gatherers and fishermen] and that rooming apart has the psychological effect of producing hyperaggressive males" (192, 194)
Whiting, John W.M."[Most of the] . . . societies in which a husband and wife have separate bedrooms are situated in tropical climates where heating is not a problem. . . . [Societies where settlements are permanent rather than nomadic or seminomadic tend to have separate bedrooms for husband and wife]" (190, 191)
Whiting, John W.M."[There is] no association between wife beating [,] . . . another index of the relation between husband and wife [,] . . . and rooming arrangements. It is associated rather with independent versus extended households. Wife beating tends not to occur in . . . [extended] households" (190)
Whiting, John W.M.". . .in a significant number of societies men and women who room together eat together. . . . Fathers [tend to] have a close relationship with their infants . . . [and in societies where husband and wife sleep together] . . . the husband is [generally] permitted to be present . . . when his wife is giving birth . . ."
White, Douglas R.The sororal polygyny complex: hypotheses relate a) husbands' and wives' relative generation of wealth, b) husbands and wives autonomous residences, c) sororal mode of polygyny, and d) the husband's responsibility to attract new wives.