Does Cohabitation Cause Divorce Or A Better Marriage? | HuffPost Life
These data were used to look at the relationship between cohabitation and divorce of first marriages. The sample was about two-thirds white;. How Shacking Up Before Marriage Affects a Relationship's Success “It turns out that cohabitation doesn't cause divorce and probably never because more unmarried cohabiting couples used to be among the less well off. One such study questioned whether the relationship between cohabitation and divorce was a product of selection: Could it just be that people.
She compared the relationships using the date of first moving in together. That date, she reasoned, is when a couple really takes on the roles of marriage, regardless of whether they have a legal certificate.
Using this method, she found no link between whether people had cohabited before marriage and their rate of divorce. The turning point in age for picking a life partner seems to be about 23, Kuperberg said. They're a little set up in the world. Moving in with someone before both people are set in their career paths and schooling may increase the risk that one decides to take a job in New York while the other wants to go to graduate school in California.
Successful cohabitation Other research included in the report finds that moving in may be fine, but rushing things might have disadvantages. Sharon Sassler, a sociologist at Cornell University, interviewed more than cohabiters for a book she's working on about cohabitation in the United States. More than half have been couples for more than a year, with an average of 14 months dating before cohabiting. More than half of the cohabiters without college degrees move in together after less than six months of dating.
Manning and Cohen conclude, "premarital cohabitation was not linked to marital stability for women or men.
Cohabitation and Divorce -- There is a Correlation - Divorce and Remarriage Help
Couples live together with a variety of intentions. For some, it is a "trial" marriage and for others, there is less of a commitment to the relationship. About 60 percent of men and women indicate that when they cohabitated, they were engaged or planned to get married; the other 40 percent had no plans for marriage.
So how do these couples differ? The general result is that those couples with plans for marriage who cohabitated were less likely to get divorced than cohabitating couples with no plans for marriage. Here we have to look at men and women separately to understand the results.
What else do we know about these women who began cohabitation with no plans for marriage?
These women generally had other characteristics that make them at risk for marital instability. For example, they were more likely to have had a premarital birth, grew up in single or stepparent families and had less education. Interestingly, women who benefited most from cohabitating with plans for marriage were more likely to be those who faced greater risks of divorce.
This group included black women, women with a premarital birth, and those with less than a high school degree. In short, it seems that for women with a personal history of risk factors for divorce, entering a committed cohabitating relationship was a positive step towards a stable marriage.
We test the se- adopted more accepting attitudes toward divorce lection and experience of cohabitation perspec- reported declines in marital happiness and increas- tives by incorporating a variety of demographic es in marital conflict, with the causal path running variables known to be associated not only with primarily from attitudes to marital quality.
Ac- premarital cohabitation, but also with marital dis- cording to these authors, individuals with a weak cord and instability. The selection perspective commitment to the norm of lifelong marriage may suggests the hypothesis that any observed asso- invest relatively little time and energy in resolving ciation between premarital cohabitation and mar- relationship problems, assuming that it is easier to ital dysfunction irrespective of marriage cohort leave an unhappy marriage than to repair it.
Con- will disappear after controlling for variables that sequently, people who do not support the norm of reflect selection into cohabitation.
The experience lifelong marriage are more likely than other peo- of cohabitation perspective, in contrast, suggests ple to see the quality of their relationships erode the hypothesis that cohabitation will continue to over time. Similarly, research has shown that mar- be associated with poorer marital outcomes even ried people who hold accepting attitudes toward after controlling for variables that reflect selection divorce are more likely to divorce, even after con- into cohabitation.
This research sug- itation, cohort, and marital outcomes, we con- gests that cohabitation may undermine later mar- trolled for age, marital duration, and gender. With respect to selection factors, we relied on The selection perspective and the experience of six variables—race, parental divorce, marriage or- cohabitation perspective provide different views der, education, income, and welfare use—that pre- on how the association between premarital cohab- dict cohabitation as well as marital outcomes.
For itation and marital dysfunction may have changed example, African Americans, compared with Eu- over time. The selection perspective assumes that ropean Americans, are more likely to divorce Journal of Marriage and Family White, and to enter a cohabiting relation- In orinvestigators interviewed ship as their first union Raley, Adults with adult offspring 19 years of age or older of the divorced parents, compared with adults with con- original respondents.
In marriages end in divorce Amato, The — marriage cohort was se- Correspondingly, spondents were a between the ages of 19 and 40 studies indicate that cohabitation is more common in and b married within the previous 17 among those with less education, less income, and years. To avoid problems with dependencies in the greater dependence on public assistance Bumpass data, a third criterion was necessary: According to the dents in the — cohort were not parents selection perspective, these variables race, paren- of individuals in the — cohort.
Does Cohabitation Cause Divorce Or A Better Marriage?
Of the tal divorce, marriage order, education, income, 2, people interviewed in1, people and welfare use should explain a substantial pro- met these three criteria and were included in the portion of the association between cohabitation — sample. These two groups married in and marital outcomes in the two cohorts. Telephone interviewers used a riage. Cohort was coded 1 5 married between random-digit-dialing procedure to obtain a nation- and and 0 5 married between al sample of 2, married individuals 55 years and Cohabitation prior to marriage was cod- of age and younger in Within each house- ed 1 5 yes and 0 5 no.
Marital quality was mea- The sample, when compared with census sured with two variables: Marital happiness was based on ulation with respect to age, race, household size, 11 items that measured how happy people felt number of children in the household, home own- about aspects of their marriages e.
Attrition from the as well as how happy people felt about their mar- sample was more common for men, younger re- riages overall. Response options consisted of 1 5 spondents, renters, respondents with lower edu- not too happy, 2 5 pretty happy, and 3 5 very cational achievement, and non-Whites. For dichotomous variables, the means are replaced with proportions and the F statistics are replaced with Wald statistics. Standard deviations are not shown for dichotomous variables. The largest group of non-Whites, however, er happiness.
Marital conflict was a four-item consisted of African Americans. Parental divorce scale that measured the amount and severity of was coded 1 5 parental divorce and 0 5 no pa- conflict between spouses, including general dis- rental divorce. Education was coded as the num- agreements, serious quarrels, and physical aggres- ber of years of education of the participant. This scale had an alpha reliability coefficient riage order was coded 1 5 first marriage and 0 of.
Family in- ital conflict. To simplify the interpretation of re- come was measured as the total family income sults, we standardized these scales to have means husband plus wife in thousands of dollars. The of 0 and standard deviations of 1. The selection respondents interviewed in n 5the factors were measured in for the — — marriage cohort and in for re- cohort and in for the — cohort.
A small number of respondents who had separated permanently were Control variables. Gender was coded 1 5 wife included in the divorce category, a procedure rec- ommended by Bumpass et al. Age and duration of marriage were coded in years. The ages of respondents in Selection factors.
To assess the role of selection, the — cohort ranged from 19 to 40 with variables related to the decision to cohabit as well a mean of In the — Smock, ; White, The selection factors marriage cohort, marital duration ranged included race, parental divorce, marriage order from 0 to 16 years with a mean of 6. Race tion ranged from 0 to 16 years with a mean of 5. Be- see Table 1. The median year of marriage in the cause the percentage of non-Whites in the sample — cohort was and the median year was small, it was not possible to subdivide this of marriage for the — cohort was These results appear in Table 2.
Cohabi- The means and standard deviations of all control tation was significantly associated with marital and selection variables by cohort and cohabita- happiness and conflict see Model 1. Across both tion are presented in Table 1. To test for signifi- cohorts, cohabitors reported less marital happiness cant group differences, we relied on ordinary least than noncohabitors, with the difference between squares OLS regression for the continuous var- groups representing about one sixth of a standard iables age, marital duration, education, and in- deviation b 5 2.
Similarly, across both co- come and logistic regression for the dichotomous horts, cohabitors reported more marital conflict variables gender, race, parental divorce, marriage than noncohabitors, with the difference between order, and welfare use.
Main effects for cohort groups representing about one third of a standard and cohabitation were assessed on the first step, deviation b 5. The main effect of cohort was and interactions between cohort and cohabitation not significant for either outcome. Table 2 also using multiplicative terms were assessed on the reveals that the interaction of cohort and cohabi- second step. The — cohort contained a tation was not significant for either marital hap- somewhat larger proportion of wives than did the piness or marital conflict see Model 2.
Although the groups did not were also tendencies for wives to report less hap- differ in age, marriages preceded by cohabitation piness than husbands, for older respondents to re- were shorter in duration than were marriages not port less conflict than younger respondents, and preceded by cohabitation. Because gender and for marital happiness to decline with duration of marital duration may be correlated with marital marriage. The main effect of co- for race, education, and family income. Compared habitation was significant in Model 1.
Couples with the earlier — cohort, the more re- who cohabited prior to marriage were more likely cent — cohort contained fewer non- to have divorced at the 3-year follow up.
Con- Whites, was better educated, and had higher fam- verting the b coefficient to an odds ratio eb 5 ily incomes. These differences are consistent with 2. Converting the b coef- increases in family income Amato et al. The interaction between cohort and marriage order, and welfare use.
Cohabitation and Divorce -- There is a Correlation
Compared with cohabitation was not significant see Model 2. In respondents who did not cohabit prior to marriage, addition, the odds of divorce were lower among respondents who cohabited were more likely to younger respondents than among older respon- have divorced parents, less likely to be in first dents.
In summary, the results show that across marriages, and more likely to have used public the two marriage cohorts, spouses who cohabited assistance in the recent past. These findings are prior to marriage had poorer marital quality and consistent with prior research on factors associ- greater marital instability than those who did not ated with cohabitation, as noted earlier.
Thus, cohabitation was associated with actions between cohort and cohabitations were not more troubled unions, irrespective of the decade significant for any of the control and selection var- of marriage.
Marital Quality and Marital Stability? To determine whether marital quality and stability The next step in the analysis incorporated the de- differed by cohort and cohabitation, OLS regres- mographic selection factors that may predispose Cohabitation and Marital Quality individuals not only to cohabit, but also to have marriage differ in certain ways from those who do less stable marriages.
Model 3 in Table 2 added not and that those differences increase the likeli- the six demographic selection factors: