Nicholas H Wolfinger

Nicholas H Wolfinger
University of Utah | UOU · Department of Family and Consumer Studies

Ph.D., Sociology

About

63
Publications
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Introduction
My books include Understanding the Divorce Cycle: The Children of Divorce in Their Own Marriages, Do Babies Matter? Gender and Family in the Ivory Tower (with Mary Ann Mason and Marc Goulden), Fragile Families and the Marriage Agenda (edited, with Lori Kowaleski-Jones), and the newly published Soul Mates: Religion, Sex, Children, and Marriage among African Americans and Latinos (with W. Bradford Wilcox). Visit www.nicholaswolfinger.com for more information.
Additional affiliations
July 1998 - present
University of Utah
Position
  • Professor (Full)

Publications

Publications (63)
Preprint
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Objective: This study re-examined the relationship between premarital sex and divorce risk, with a focus on selection mechanisms, number of premarital partners, and gender differences. Background: Premarital sex predicts divorce, but we do not know why. Scholars have attributed the relationship to selection factors such as differences in beliefs a...
Preprint
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Sociologists have proposed numerous theories for declining marriage rates in the United States, often highlighting demographic, economic, and cultural factors. One controversial theory contends that having multiple non-marital sex partners reduces traditional incentives for men to get married and simultaneously undermines their prospects in the mar...
Preprint
Full-text available
Sociologists have proposed numerous theories for declining marriage rates in the United States, generally highlighting demographic, economic, and cultural factors. One controversial theory contends that having multiple non-marital sex partners reduces traditional incentives for men to get married and simultaneously undermines their prospects in the...
Preprint
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An overview of how the family in the United States has changed since the 1960s.
Preprint
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Review of Philip Cohen's 2018 book Enduring Bonds, published in Social Forces, Volume 98, Issue 2, December 2019, Pages 1–3, https://doi.org/10.1093/sf/soz087, with Cohen's partial rejoinder, and my response.
Book
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Over the last half century, the United States has experienced a dramatic retreat from marriage, marked by high rates of divorce, single parenthood, cohabitation, and nonmarital childbearing. This retreat has hit Latinos and especially African Americans particularly hard. Divorce, nonmarital childbearing, and single parenthood are particularly high...
Article
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Since the 1960s, the United States has witnessed a dramatic retreat from marriage, marked by divorce, cohabitation, single parenthood, and lower overall marriage rates. Marriage is now less likely to anchor adults’ lives or provide a stable framework for childrearing, especially among poor and working-class Americans. Much research on the retreat...
Book
The new generation of scholars differs in many ways from its predecessor of just a few decades ago. Academia once consisted largely of men in traditional single-earner families. Today, men and women fill the doctoral student ranks in nearly equal numbers and most will experience both the benefits and challenges of living in dual-income households....
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The rapid growth of the Latino population in the United States has renewed interest in Latino family research. It has often been assumed that Catholicism is a key factor influencing Latinos’ attitudes toward the family, despite the fact that nearly one third of Latinos are not Catholic. This article uses data from the 2006 National Survey of Religi...
Chapter
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Purpose – This chapter examines change over time in income, human capital, and socio-demographic attributes for married, divorced, and never-married mothers Methodology/approach – The chapter consists of descriptive analysis of data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth's 1979 cohort. Respondents were followed from 1979 to 2006. Findings...
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Several recent studies have investigated the consequences of racial intermarriage for marital stability. None of these studies properly control for first-order racial differences in divorce risk, therefore failing to appropriately identify the effect of intermarriage. Our article builds on an earlier generation of studies to develop a model that ap...
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This study explores the relationship between parental divorce and religiosity, including religious affiliation change and church attendance. Data from the 1991, 1998, and 2008 waves of the General Social Survey provide information both on current religiosity and religiosity in respondents' families of origin. The results suggest that living with a...
Article
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Many studies have demonstrated that the children of divorce are disproportionately likely to end their own marriages. In previous work, I showed that the transmission of divorce between generations weakened substantially for General Social Survey (GSS) respondents interviewed between 1973 and 1996 (Wolfinger 1999); Li and Wu (2006, 2008) contended...
Article
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Almost half of first marriages end in divorce, which in turn may produce joint physical custody arrangements. Seen by many states to be in the best interest of the child, joint physical custody is increasingly common. Yet much is unknown about its consequences for children. This article considers how joint physical custody arrangements affect child...
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We examine the changing social and economic characteristics of women who give birth out of wedlock. Using Current Population Survey data collected between 1982 and 2002, we find that never-married mothers remain impoverished Their income growth over these years was modest despite substantial gains in education employment, and other individual chara...
Article
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The authors use data from the 2000 Census Public Use Microdata Sample to examine the likelihood of a birth event, defined as the household presence of a child younger than 2 years, for male and female professionals. Physicians have the highest rate of birth events, followed in order by attorneys and academics. Within each profession men have more b...
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Objective: The family arrangements of Latinos in the U.S. are increasingly diverse, with many living with their partners out of wedlock. Latinos also tend to be more religious than the population at large. Accordingly we examine the associations between religion and relationship quality among married and unmarried Latino couples. Methods: Data from...
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Academic careers have traditionally been conceptualized as pipelines, through which young scholars move seamlessly from graduate school to tenure-track positions. This model often fails to capture the experiences of female Ph.D. recipients, who become tenure-track assistant professors at lower rates than do their male counterparts. What do these wo...
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Retirement is of interest to faculty members and university administrators alike, but almost no studies have explored the predictors of academic retirements using longitudinal data. We respond to this gap in the literature using the nationally representative 1981-2003 Surveys of Doctorate Recipients. Family characteristics have large effects on ret...
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This article uses prospective data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 to investigate how children in divorced and never-married-mother families vary in reading and math achievement after parental remarriage. These are compared to children who remain in never-married, divorced, and continuously married families. Results based on gro...
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Women have traditionally fared worse than men in the workplace. In few places has this been more apparent than higher education (Jacobs, 1996). In 2003, women received 47% of PhDs awarded (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2005a) but comprised only 35% of tenured or tenure-track faculty (NCES, 2005b). The gender gap widens incrementa...
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We use data from the Voting and Registration Supplement of the Current Population Survey to explore the effects of family structure on turnout in the 2000 presidential election. Our results indicate that family structure, defined as marital status and the presence of children, has substantial consequences for turnout. Married adults are more likely...
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Religious participation is linked to overall satisfaction among both married and unmarried couples in urban America. Less is known about what may account for the association between religious participation and relationship quality. We explore this issue using data from the first two waves of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. Relations...
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A growing body of research has focused on socioeconomic and cultural explanations for the fragility of marriage in urban America. This paper examines the role that religious participation—and the norms and behaviors it promotes—plays in encouraging marriage among new parents in urban America. Using longitudinal data from the Fragile Families and Ch...
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Self-help books often advise readers to avoid rushing into new relationships after a break-up. To date, there is little evidence supporting this recommendation. This paper tests the effects of rebound time, measured as time elapsed between marital dissolution and the formation of a new union, on remarriage duration. Data from the first wave of the...
Article
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This study uses data from both waves of the National Survey of Families and Households to examine the effects of family structure of origin on offspring's cohabiting unions. Parental divorce substantially decreases the likelihood that these relationships end in marriage, but this effect is almost completely ameliorated by parental remarriage. Paren...
Article
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Researchers have found that religious participation is correlated with marital satisfaction. Less is known about whether religion also benefits participants in nonmarital, intimate relationships or whether religious effects on relationships vary by gender. Using data from the first three waves of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, we f...
Article
Informal peer intervention may be an effective means of combating drunk driving. Prior research finds that: (a) An experimental model of decision making in bystander intervention situations can successfully be applied to drunk driving intervention (DUI intervention); and (b) various personal and situational factors influence a person's decision to...
Chapter
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Income losses resulting from marital disruption have traditionally contributed to high rates of poverty for single women. This paper explores trends in the economic consequences of divorce using data from the 1980–2001 Current Population Survey March Demographic Supplement. Divorce still adversely affects women’s incomes, but divorcées have achieve...
Article
Research indicates that religious participation is correlated with more supportive behaviors and greater overall satisfaction among both married and unmarried couples in urban America. But little is known about how the association between religious participation and relationship quality may be mediated by family norms, lifestyle choices (e.g., drug...
Chapter
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A comparison of marriage and divorce in Utah and the rest of the United States.
Article
Academic careers have traditionally been conceptualized as pipelines, through which young scholars move continuously from graduate school to tenure-track positions. This understanding often fails to capture the experiences of female Ph.D. recipients, who take ladder-rank assistant professorships at lower rates than do their male counterparts. Where...
Book
Many people see government involvement in family policy as a response to popular concerns that the American family is in a state of crisis. One of the primary concerns with "fragile" families (one parent usually mother) is economic: Poverty rates for single mothers are several times that of two-parent families. Economic deprivation while growing up...
Book
Growing up in a divorced family can cause the children to have difficulties in maintaining relationships. Nicholas Wolfinger demonstrates the significant impact of parental divorce upon people's lives and society. The divorce cycle phenomena ensures the transmission of divorce from one generation to the next. This book examines how it has transform...
Article
Full-text available
Income losses resulting from marital disruption have traditionally contributed to high rates of poverty for single women. This paper explores trends in the economic consequences of divorce using data from the 1980-2001 Current Population Survey March Demographic Supplement. Divorce still adversely affects women’s incomes, but divorcées have achieve...
Article
Full-text available
At least 25 separate studies have examined the impact of family structure on offspring marriage timing. Some find that parental divorce makes marriage more likely, while others show that it delays or deters marriage. This research analyzes data from the 1973-94 NORC General Social Survey with the intention of shedding light on the debate. The extra...
Article
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Although it is well established that the children of divorce are disproportionately likely to end their own marriages, relatively little is known about their marriage formation behavior. This paper uses data from the National Survey of Families and Households to examine the effects of parental family structure on spouse selection and marriage durat...
Article
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Most prior research on the adverse consequences of parental divorce has analyzed only one child per family. As a result, it is not known whether the same divorce affects siblings differently. We address this issue by analyzing paired sibling data from the 1994 General Social Survey (GSS) and 1994 Survey of American Families (SAF). Both seemingly un...
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In most states, stepparents have little or no legal decision-making authority. Stepchildren do not receive the legal recognition as dependents that triggers a safety net in the event of death or divorce, nor do former stepparents have the legal right to visitation or custody. However, the lack of legal recognition of the stepparent role may not ref...
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Fieldnotes are a vital part of ethnographic research, yet little attention has been paid to the practical details of note-taking. Exactly how does an ethnographer decide what to write about? This article uses fieldnotes from various sources to show that, irrespective of any formal strategies for note-taking, researchers’ tacit knowledge and expecta...
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Pp. 2189-2194 in International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, edited by N. J. Smelser and P. B. Baltes. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science (authorship ordered alphabetically).
Article
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Objective. Changes in labor force participation and returns may have lessened divorce's traditionally severe economic consequences for women. Method. We use recent data from the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH) to analyze the economic well-being of women whose marriages ended between the first and second waves of data collection. R...
Article
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Data are used from both waves of the National Survey of Families and Households to test the hypothesis that individuals who experience many parental relationship transitions will often reproduce these behaviors as adults by dissolving multiple marriages. This hypothesis is confirmed, and the findings are essentially unchanged when controlling for s...
Article
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I use data from the 1973-1996 NORC General Social Survey to examine trends in the intergenerational transmission of divorce, the propensity for the children of divorce to end their own marriages. The rate of divorce transmission declined by almost 50% in the study period. This result was essentially unchanged by statistical controls for various per...
Article
Carol Gilligan (1977, 1982) has proposed fundamental gender differences. Women typically conceptualize interpersonal dilemmas in terms of people and their relationships, whereas men often orient to dilemmas as practical problems. Although considerable research has explored these gender differences, they have usually been treated as psychological tr...
Article
I use data from the 1977-1994 National Opinion Research Council General Social Survey to examine the impact of parental divorce on the alcohol and tobacco consumption of adult offspring. Divorce greatly increases the likelihood of being a smoker and, for men, a problem drinker. Parental remarriage completely offsets the effects of parental divorce...
Article
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Many researchers have shown that men and women speak differently. In this paper we examine whether these differences extend to the interpretation of speech. Men and women were recorded as they described their participation in a common interpersonal dilemma. From these recordings we transcribed eight short segments of talk that lacked any reference...
Article
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Pedestrian interaction is inherently complex yet observably ordered. For order to be possible, people must behave like competent pedestrians and must expect copresent others to act accordingly. Although many researchers have examined pedestrian behavior, few have considered exactly how pedestrians develop and sustain the expectation that others wil...
Article
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of California, Los Angeles, 1998. Vita. Includes bibliographical references.
Article
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This study examines whether the changing social and economic characteristics of women who give birth out of wedlock have led to higher family incomes. Using Current Population Survey data collected between 1982 and 2002, we find that never-married mothers remain poor. They have made modest economic gains, but these have disproportionately occurred...
Article
Full-text available
We use data from the 2000 Census Public Use Microsample to examine the likelihood of a birth event, defined as the household presence of a child under two years old, for male and female professionals. Physicians have the highest rate of birth events, followed in order by attorneys and academics. Within each profession men have more birth events tha...
Article
Full-text available
Between the mid-1960s and 1979 the crude divorce rate in the United States more than doubled.1 Although divorce had increased at a steady rate for more than the previous 100 years, the mid-1960s marked the beginning of an unprecedented boom.2 Despite modest declines over the last twenty years,3 the divorce rate remains high: about one out of two ne...
Article
Full-text available
The social context for marriage and divorce in the United States has changed dramatically over the last 50 years. Since the 1950s, Americans have been waiting longer to marry. Women's median age at first marriage rose from 20 in the 1960s to 25 in 2000; for men, the increase was from 22 to 27 (Clarke 1995; Fields and Casper 2001). Book Chapter

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