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“His” and “her” marriage expectations: Determinants and consequences

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Abstract

This article uses couple-level data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N= 2,263) to investigate factors associated with unmarried parents’ expectations about marriage and the association between their expectations and subsequent union transitions. In most couples, both partners expect to marry, and their shared expectations are the strongest predictor of marriage and separation following their child's birth. Although men's expectations are somewhat more consequential for union transitions, marriage and relationship stability are more likely when at least one parent expects to marry. Factors such as children from previous relationships, distrust, conflict, and shared activities are also associated with union transitions. Findings about how expectations and other factors relate to marriage and separation may inform new marriage promotion initiatives.

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... However, few studies have examined whether having a plan to marry at childbirth is associated with cohabiting parents' relationship stability or marriage realization. Waller and McLanahan (2005) examined the association between unmarried parents' reports of their chance of marrying their partner (''shared expectation'') and actual transition to marriage a year after childbirth. They found that the reported chances of marrying indeed predicted marriage realization a year later. ...
... Manning and Cohen (2012) examined whether being engaged or having definite plans for marriage before cohabitation was associated with marital stability and found such association only among women. However, Waller and McLanahan (2005) found that fathers' expectations for the likelihood of marriage at childbirth were more strongly associated with marriage realization than mothers' expectations. Brown (2000) also reported that male partners' preferences for the future relationship were a more significant predictor of marriage or separation than female partners' preferences. ...
... Or, it is also possible to infer that mothers were able to make more realistic predictions about their future status based on their past and current relationship with the child's father at the time of childbirth. However, considering that Waller and McLanahan (2005) showed fathers' reports of marriage expectations (i.e., prediction of chances to marry the other parents) were stronger predictors of marriage entrance than mothers' expectations, our findings may suggest that marriage expectations (predictions) and plans are two different notions. Overall, such difference may suggest that mothers' plans to marry may play a more important role in the couples' marriage realization; mothers may have more control or influence over couples' decisions to get married when they have children together. ...
Article
The purpose of this study is to examine how cohabiting partners’ plans to marry after the birth of their child were associated with marriage realization or continued cohabitation when their child was 1, 3, and 5 years old. Possible parents’ gender differences, couple agreement, and the longitudinal associations were examined. Using four waves of data from the Fragile Family and Child Wellbeing Study, results from logistic regressions showed that (1) the majority of cohabiting mothers and fathers had plans to marry their partner after the birth of their child; (2) in general, mothers’ plans to marry were significantly associated with couples’ marriage realization whereas fathers’ were not; (3) agreements between partners in their marriage plans were associated with marriage realization. Other relational and demographic characteristics were also considered. Research and clinical implications of the findings were discussed.
... To further explore differences among unmarried parents, we examined the association between marital expectations and relationship quality and couple conflict. Many unmarried couples have high expectations of marriage (Waller & McLanahan, 2005). In line with FST and previous research (e.g., Guzzo, 2020), our results indicate that mothers report higher relationship quality and lower conflict when they have higher expectations of marriage. ...
... One explanation for this is that couples with higher relationship quality and lower conflict are more likely to consider marriage. However, despite positive views of marriage, lower-income couples often face barriers to marriage (Karney, 2021;Waller & McLanahan, 2005). In this context, higher marital expectations may reflect couples who might otherwise be married if barriers were removed. ...
... Then again, couples with higher relationship quality or lower conflict who intend to marry (whether cohabiting or not) may have similarly defined boundaries and rules seen in two-parent married family systems, especially when a child is involved. The mutual understanding of a long-term relationship provides meaningful support for the family system (Jackson, 1965), and couples with high expectations are more likely to remain together (McClain & Brown, 2017), even if they do not marry (Waller & McLanahan, 2005). There was also a positive association between mothers' marital expectations and fathers' relationship quality. ...
Article
The purpose of this study was to examine changes in relationship quality and couple conflict in low‐income parents. When welcoming a new child, couples often report increased conflict and a decline in relationship quality. However, some scholars maintain couples can transition to parenthood with few negative effects. Low‐income, unmarried, and experienced parents remain understudied. Utilizing data from a broader parent education project, the study employed dyadic latent growth curve analysis to examine changes over time in relationship quality and conflict. Participants were 216 low‐income couples receiving home visitation services who reported on relationship quality and conflict at three time points. Differences between first‐time and multiparous parents and among married, cohabiting, and non‐residential opposite‐sex couples were examined. Trajectories of relationship quality and conflict were stable over time. Compared to married and cohabiting couples, non‐residential couples reported lower initial relationship quality. When comparing cohabiting and non‐residential couples, couples with higher expectations of marriage had higher initial relationship quality and lower initial conflict. Some couples navigate the transition to parenthood without negative relationship effects, especially those with higher initial quality, lower initial conflict, and greater expectations of marriage. Implications Policy and practice supporting relationship stability in low‐income couples should incorporate a strengths‐based approach.
... Studies have shown that women tend to exit relationships when they perceive poor relationship quality, implying that women may feel more responsible for relationship maintenance than men and respond by dissolving the union (Brown 2000;Thompson and Walker 1989). There is suggestive evidence that men's preferences-including marital plans-have more weight in determining the outcome of the relationship than women's (Brown 2000;Guzzo 2009;Waller and McLanahan 2005). Others attribute these differences in outcomes to gendered power dynamics within relationships. ...
... There are several potential explanations for these gender differences in marital plans. One possibility is couple-level disagreement in reports of marital plans, which some research shows is more prevalent (Sassler and McNally 2003;Waller and McLanahan 2005) than others (Brown et al. 2017). Premarital cohabiting couples tend to have discordant retrospective accounts of their relationship sequencing (Halpern-Meekin and Tach 2013), likely due to the fact that transitions to cohabitation often occur hastily and without much planning Sassler 2004;Sassler and Miller 2011b). ...
... Another possibility is that gender differences in relationship outcomes are reflective of disagreement within couples. Couplelevel studies have shown that when only women expect to marry their partners, and not men, these couples are less likely to actually marry (Brown 2000;Waller and McLanahan 2005). Yet, the finding that engagement reduces the risk of dissolution for men and not women runs counter to prior research concluding that engagement was more protective against marital dissolution for women than men (Manning and Cohen 2012). ...
Article
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In an era of changing relationship norms, plans for marriage are an increasingly complex yet important indicator of the link between cohabitation and marriage. Despite qualitative evidence on this complexity, little is known about the nuances of marital plans and gender differences at the population level. This study introduces the concept of “informal” marital plans—cohabitations beginning with some intentions to marry that had yet to be formalized. Drawing on data of heterosexual cohabitors in their first coresidential union from the National Survey of Family Growth (2011–2015, n = 5545), I examine the sociodemographic correlates of marital plans as well as their consequences for men’s and women’s union transitions. The results show significant gender differences in reports of marital plans at the time of moving in together, with women more likely to report engagement and men more likely to report informal marital plans. Although having any marital intentions is positively associated with transitioning to marriage for both genders, engagement is a significantly stronger predictor of marriage than informal marital plans. Pronounced gender differences are found with respect to the dissolution of first cohabitations, as both informal and formal marital plans are more protective against dissolution for men than for women. Distinguishing informal marital plans from engagement provides meaningful new insights into the role of cohabitation in modern American union formation.
... Young adult cohabiters are disproportionately drawn from populations with less than a college degree, earn less, and experienced family instability during adolescence (Sassler and Miller 2011;Kennedy and Bumpass 2008). It is equally important to consider the ability to participate in a practice that has high exit costs when studying economically vulnerable populations, such as low-income young adults and those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, a large and growing share of a policy-relevant population (Gibson-Davis 2009;Kenney 2004;Waller and McLanahan 2005). Family scholars who generalize relationship behaviors to all cohabiters may misrepresent the processes shaping the behaviors of less advantaged, more marginalized groups. ...
... What we do know is that cohabiters are optimistic about their current relationships; they tend to believe their relationships will last and transition into marriage (Brown 2000;Waller and McLanahan 2005). In general, those who report being engaged or plan to marry at the time they moved in with a partner are more likely to transition from cohabitation to marriage (Brown and Booth 1996). ...
... Relationship history was captured with whether the cohabiter previously cohabited with someone else (Brown 2003) or had a prior marriage (Burgoyne and Morison 1997), as well as if their partner was previously married, and if the partner had a child in the household that's not the respondent's child. Current relationship covariates included presence of shared children in the household (Brown, 2003;Waller and McLanahan 2005) and current length of cohabitation in years (Brown, 2003;Sassler et al. 2010). Relationship quality was measured from the survey question: ''Would you say your current relationship is very happy, fairly happy, not too happy?'' ...
Article
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Despite increasing rates of pre-marital cohabitation, the majority of research on household financial practices in the United States has focused on married couples. This study explored ways young adult cohabiters (N = 691) financially combined their lives and the associations with subsequent relationship outcomes. Results indicated cohabiters were intertwining credit histories and bank accounts, and acquiring assets such as purchasing homes together. Sharing a mortgage was associated with an increased likelihood of marriage, whereas joint credit card accounts increased the odds of dissolution. Cohabiters with an intent to marry were much more likely to start integrating their finances prior to marriage. This study sheds light on the heterogeneous ways that a recent cohort of young adult couples manages their finances and navigates relationships.
... Cohabitors come from many ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, and hold a wide variety of views on why they cohabit and what their cohabiting relationships mean to them (Edin, Kefalas, & Reed, 2004;Waller & McLanahan, 2005). Where early research focused on cohabitation as a phenomenon largely restricted to the socio-economically disadvantaged, more recent work examines cohabitation patterns of adults from a range of class and income profiles. ...
... It also matters who, when, and how questions about cohabitation are asked (Knab & McLanahan, 2006). Just as mothers and adolescents offer conflicting reports of family composition, couples do not always agree on their relationship status (Waller & McLanahan, 2005). This means that one partner may reply "yes" while the other says "no" when asked, separately, whether they are in a cohabiting relationship. ...
Article
Heterosexual cohabitation has become a normative feature of the life course. The prevalence and incidence of cohabitation have risen considerably in the past 3 decades. In fact, it is now so commonplace that researchers have moved beyond debates about its transience as a trend. Most marriages and remarriages begin as cohabiting relationships, and the majority of young adults has cohabited or will cohabit at some point in their lives (Smock, 2000). Moreover, most young adults in the United States now view nonmarital cohabitation as an acceptable relationship form (Axinn & Thornton, 2000; Scott, Shelar, Manlove, & Cui, 2009; Thornton & Young-DeMarco, 2001). The incidence of cohabiting partners with children is increasingly widespread, too: two-fifths of cohabiting couples are currently raising children and nearly half of these couples have a joint biological child (Kennedy & Fitch, 2009, p. 15).
... Qualitative studies have also cited gender distrust in sexual infidelity, authority and exploitation as factors that discourage marriage (Edin et al. 2003;Gibson-Davis et al. 2005). Waller and McLanahan (2005) found that unmarried mens' optimism and expectations in addition to pro-marriage attitudes of both the unmarried partners generally led to marriage. ...
... In his opinion, the economic resources of Whitemiddle class men (in contrast to the lack thereof of the same among Black men) was responsible for exerting some authority over women.15 Waller and McLanahan (2005) have documented cohabitation with the baby's father at birth being positively related to marriage one year post a nonmarital birth. While this might be true in the short run and many marriages are likely to occur in the short term, our results test this finding for cohabitation patterns over the long term. ...
Article
Full-text available
Unlike prior studies that have explained racial differences in the transitions to marriage among unmarried women, our study used the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine racial differences in the transitions to marriage among unmarried women following a non-marital birth. We found that Black mothers were 60–65% more likely to delay marriage after a non-marital birth compared to White mothers and these racial gaps were only partially explained by economic, demographic and attitudinal factors. Our paper further contributes to this literature by examining changes in cohabitation patterns, educational attainment, poverty status and attitudes of gender distrust that are able to partially explain and reduce these racial gaps in transitions to marriage. With the general decline in marriage and rise in cohabitation, our paper tried to assess whether cohabitation is a leading factor for marriage or a substitute for marriage for unmarried mothers. Racial disparities have important implications for child wellbeing and intergenerational transmission of inequalities.
... These shifts suggest that whether people should marry depends on the quality of their relationship. Brown (2004) finds that relationship quality does not increase the likelihood of marriage among cohabiting couples, but other research finds that distrust and conflict reduce the likelihood of marriage (Waller and McLanahan 2005). One goal of our study is to identify the extent to which relationship quality matters as a circumstance demarcating who should or should not marry. ...
... First, we found that an economic bar is normative in the United States Smock et al. 2005). Second, pregnancy status and relationship quality have dramatic effects on views of different-sex marriage in the United States (Cherlin et al. 2008;Gibson-Davis et al. 2016;Rackin and Gibson-Davis 2017;Waller and McLanahan 2005). When Mike and Jessica were expecting a child or when the quality of their relationship was good, the relative majority of responses prescribed marriage. ...
Article
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This article seeks to experimentally evaluate the thesis that marriage is deinstitutionalized in the United States. To do so, we map the character of the norm about whether different-sex couples ought to marry, and we identify the extent to which the norm is strong or weak along four dimensions: polarity, whether the norm is prescriptive, proscriptive, bipolar (both prescriptive and proscriptive), or nonexistent; conditionality, whether the norm holds under all circumstances; intensity, the degree to which individuals subscribe to the norm; and consensus, the extent to which individuals share the norm. Results of a factorial survey experiment administered to a disproportionate stratified random sample of U.S. adults ( N = 1,823) indicate that the norm to marry is weak: it is largely bipolar, conditional, and of low-to-moderate intensity, with disagreement over the norm as well as the circumstances demarcating the norm. While the norm to marry is different for men and women and for Black and White respondents, the amount of disagreement (or lack of consensus) within groups is comparable between groups. We find no significant differences across socioeconomic status (education, income, and occupational class). Overall, our findings support key claims of the deinstitutionalization of marriage thesis.
... At the time of the child's birth, most unmarried parents expected to marry one another, and in 61% of couples, both the mother and father were optimistic about their chances of marriage (Waller & McLanahan 2005). ...
... Despite these high hopes for their relationships, a much smaller share of unmarried parents ultimately married. One year after the child's birth, 12% of unmarried parents had married, 60% remained in a nonmartial romantic relationship, and 29% were not in a romantic relationship (Waller & McLanahan 2005). Even among cohabiting unmarried couples, more than 80% of whom expected to marry at the child's birth, only about one-third had married by the child's fifth birthday (Cho et al. 2018). ...
Article
We describe the promise of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS) for developmental researchers. FFCWS is a birth cohort study of 4,898 children born in 1998–2000 in large US cities. This prospective national study collected data on children and parents at birth and during infancy (age 1), toddlerhood (age 3), early childhood (age 5), middle childhood (age 9), adolescence (age 15), and, in progress, young adulthood (age 22). Though FFCWS was created to understand the lives of unmarried parent families, its comprehensive data on parents, children, and contexts can be used to explore many other developmental questions. We identify six opportunities for developmentalists: ( a) analyzing developmental trajectories, ( b) identifying the importance of the timing of exposures for later development, ( c) documenting bidirectional influences on development, ( d) understanding development in context, ( e) identifying biological moderators and mechanisms, and ( f) using an urban-born cohort that is large, diverse, and prospective.
... At the same time, it was concluded that marriage-related expectations of men were more important for its survival than the expectations of women. The results of the study indicated that the stability of the marriage depended also on the rationality of expectations and concluded that this was indeed the most powerful argument that testified potential stability of marriage | 94 (Waller and McLanahan, 2005). The results of the American national research on family development (1995) indicated that the marriages contracted after 1980 were more stable. ...
... Over longer periods, certain shifts in individuals' preferences about particular values and guidance regarding values can appear (Rokeach, 1973;Musek, 1993). Because of values changes, the individual's expectations from partner in the relationship changed a lot in previous century (Schiller, 1932;Markman, 1979Markman, , 1981Markman, , 1984Bronfenbrenner, 1986;Jockin, McGue and Lykken, 1996;Waller and McLanahan, 2005), which consequently influenced the choice of the reaction type on the relationship crisis. Our IRSM model includes the assumption that in the case of passivity and disputes or conflicts in the relationship, it is more likely that the latter will end with the breakdown. ...
Article
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In this article, we developed a model based on the insight into different theories and empirical studies about inpact of economic crisis on intimate relationship. With the economic crisis, the behaviour of individual in a relationship also changed. Increased stress is one of the reactions of individual to the crisis, and this directly or indirectly influences his or her intimate relationship. That impact is manifested as a factor of the decrease of stability and quality of such relationship. As a starting point, we took the fact that the individual in developed western societies is adapted to the mainstream of so-called consumer society, which discourages him or her to strive for the intimate relationship, and the purpose of such relationship is the preservation of family. On the contrary, this encourages individual's selfish principle to satisfy his or her comfort and convenience. We were mainly interested in the individual's reaction to this phenomenon. Based on these findings, we developed the “intimate relationship stress model” (IRSM), which could be used in further empirical studies and psychotherapy practices.
... Some scholarship suggests that women are more sensitive to relationship shocks than men, who are more likely to take a long-view on their relationships. On average, women are more focused on various aspects of their relationship, have higher expectations of their spouse, and are more likely to perceive inequality in the relationship than men (Waller and McLanahan 2005). Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, women also tend to be more self-blaming if the relationship is going poorly and often feel they are solely responsible for fixing the couple's problems (Culp and Beach 1998). ...
... One possibility is that women simply work harder at their relationships, at least in terms of relational monitoring and maintenance (Brown 2000;Thompson and Walker 1995), than men do. If present, this pattern would align with prior research showing that women do more emotional work in relationships and take more responsibility for relationship quality (Waller and McLanahan 2005). However, we found very little evidence that this was the case with RSR. ...
Article
Full-text available
Relationship quality, as measured by relationship satisfaction and stability, is important to understanding how happy a couple is and the chances their relationship will end. Prior research has linked two aspects of relationship self-regulation (RSR), effort and strategies to improve a relationship, to increased levels of satisfaction and stability, but has not yet examined if gender moderates this association. Our paper addresses how both aspects of RSR are associated with increases in satisfaction and stability for male and female partners using data from the RELATionship Evaluation Survey. In the sample of 8006 men and women in a variety of romantic unions, we find that both aspects of RSR are positively associated with both aspects of relationship quality, but that this association is stronger for women’s reports of satisfaction than men’s. Additionally, relationship effort has a slightly stronger association with stability for women than men. Both clinical and research applications of these findings are discussed.
... Research on long-term romantic relationships in mid-to later-life has primarily focused on different-sex couples. This research shows that romantic ties are highly gendered, with women and men experiencing their relationship differently (Thomeer, Umberson, & Pudrovska, 2013;Waller & McLanahan, 2005). Yet, calls to "queer" our understandings of aging within families highlight the key limitations of past approaches which tend to overlook experiences outside of heteronormative and cisnormative categories, including the general exclusion of sexual and gender minority (SGM) people in romantic relationships (Brown, 2009;Fish & Russell, 2018). ...
... For example, over fifty years ago, Jessie Bernard (1982) argued that within every marriage there were two distinct relationships: his and hers. As Bernard noted-and other feminist research supported, in different-sex relationships women did more unpaid work around the home (e.g., emotion work, household work, care work), and there were high levels of disagreement between men and women regarding the state of their marriage (Thomeer, Reczek, & Umberson, 2015b;Umberson & Williams, 2005;Waller & McLanahan, 2005). In subsequent studies, scholars pointed to women's lower levels of happiness, greater likelihood to initiate divorce, lower desire to get remarried after a marriage dissolved, and fewer health and well-being benefits from marriage as evidence that relationship dynamics were strongly gendered, with more costs for women (Amato & Previti, 2003;Umberson & Williams, 2005). ...
Article
This article employs the gender‐as‐relational (GAR) approach to enhance the study of the long‐term romantic relationships of sexual and gender minority mid‐ to later‐life adults. The GAR approach states that gender in relationships is shaped by three key factors: own gender, partner gender, and the gendered relational context. This approach emphasizes that the relationship dynamics of men, women, and gender‐nonconforming individuals are highly diverse, reflecting that gender is a social construct formed within interactions and institutions. We explicate how GAR can reorganize the study of sexual and gender diversity in three research areas related to aging and relationships—caregiving, marital health benefits, and intimacy—and discuss theory‐driven methods appropriate for a GAR research agenda. A GAR framework reorients research by complicating taken‐for‐granted assumptions about how gender operates in mid‐ to later‐life romantic relationships and queering understandings of aging and romantic relationships to include experiences outside of heteronormative and cisnormative categories.
... ner effect pria terhadap wanita. Pada penelitian ini, seluruh pengaruh partner effect, baik dari positive dyadic coping maupun negative dyadic coping, terhadap kepuasan pernikahan tidaklah signifikan. Dapat dikatakan bahwa baik pria maupun wanita tidak berbeda dalam mengevaluasi kualitas pernikahannya berdasarkan pengaruh dyadic coping pasangannya.McLanahan, 2005). Semakin tinggi harapan yang dipenuhi oleh pasangannya, maka semakin tinggi pula kepuasan pernikahan dari individu tersebut. Sebaliknya, semakin rendah harapan yang dipenuhi oleh pasangannya, maka semakin rendah pula kepuasan pernikahan individu tersebut. ...
Article
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Abstract — Marital satisfaction is one of the important topics in marital research, because marital satisfaction has major influence on marital stability. One factor that affects marital satisfaction is dyadic coping. This study tested the effect of positive and negative dyadic coping on marital satisfaction. Data was gained from 115 couples. Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (APIM) was used to guide the analysis and calculation was done with multiple level regression. The result indicated significance actor effects from both positive dyadic coping and negative dyadic coping on marital satisfaction. However, none of partner effect was found significant. Abstrak — Kepuasan pernikahan merupakan salah satu faktor penting dalam penelitian tentang pernikahan, karena kepuasan pernikahan banyak mempengaruhi kestabilan pernikahan. Salah satu faktor mempengaruhi kepuasan pernikahan adalah dyadic coping. Penelitian ini menguji pengaruh positive dan negative dyadic coping pada kepuasan pernikahan. Data didapatkan dari 115 pasangan. Analisa data dipandu oleh Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (APIM), sedangkan perhitungan data menggunakan multi level regression. Hasil perhitungan menunjukkan adanya pengaruh yang signifikan dari positive dyadic coping dan negative dyadic coping terhadap marital satisfaction pada actor effect, namun tidak signifikan pada partner effect.
... Sexual jealousy, distrust of the opposite sex, violence and abuse, drug and alcohol problems, debt, and incarceration are only a partial list of the reasons that marriage seems unwise or infeasible to many couples who live on low incomes and have relatively little education. Marriage does invariably help to settle lives when individuals bring so many problems to the relationship (Edin & Kefalas, 2005;Furstenberg, 2001;Waller, 2002;Waller & McLanahan, 2005). Yes, counseling and family services are sorely needed, but they should not be used as bait for persuading people that they are better off being married as opposed to living together, when we do not know whether this is the case. ...
... Group membership was used to predict marriage desires. This study focuses on marriage desires, as it has been documented that they are strongly associated with the eventual outcome of marriage (Waller and McLanahan 2005). The measure of marriage desires aligns with the interest of this study as it corresponds more closely with the perceived desirability of a particular behavior than with actual measures of behavior outcomes (Hiekel and Castro-Martín 2014). ...
... Although MPF often results in more extensive social networks (e.g., relationships with extended family and friends of new partners) (Lin, 1999), such relationships may lack strength, particularly when new partnerships form and dissolve quickly (Cherlin & Furstenberg, 1994). Family members may also be less likely to invest in fathers relationships if they don't believe the relationships will last (Eggebeen, 2005), and previous research suggests that fathers are less optimistic about the chances of marriage when they or their partner have children from previous partners (Waller & McLanahan, 2005). In some cases, family and friends may provide strong initial support around the birth of a father's first child, but become disenchanted if additional births with new partners become less novel. ...
Article
This study examined the association between paternal multiple partner fertility (MPF; having children with two or more partners) and indicators of environmental chaos (partnership instability, residential instability, work stability, material hardship, and perceived social support) among unmarried, non-resident fathers. Survey data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N = 873) were used to compare unmarried non-resident fathers who experienced MPF to those who had children with one partner. Results show that paternal MPF is associated with most indicators of environmental chaos (greater partnership instability, residential instability, work instability, material hardship), but not social support. Results suggest that fathers who experience MPF face challenges beyond those of other non-resident fathers. Policies and interventions should address aspects of instability and hardship that are unique to paternal MPF in order to encourage fathers’ positive contributions to children and families. Directions for future research are discussed.
... There is recent empirical evidence, consistent with these propositions, relative to processes of interest here. Waller and McLanahan (2005), for example, found expectations to marry to be the strongest predictor of future marriage. Lichter et al. (2004) found that unmarried women who desired to marry were four times more likely to have married 4 years later than women who did not desire to marry. ...
Article
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Past evidence has documented that attitudes toward marriage and cohabitation are related to sexual behavior in adolescence and young adulthood. This study extends prior research by longitudinally testing these associations across racial/ethnic groups and investigating whether culturally relevant variations within racial/ethnic minority groups, such as skin tone (i.e., lightness/darkness of skin color), are linked to attitudes toward marriage and cohabitation and sex. Drawing on family and public health literatures and theories, as well as burgeoning skin tone literature, it was hypothesized that more positive attitudes toward marriage and negative attitudes toward cohabitation would be associated with less risky sex, and that links differed for lighter and darker skin individuals. The sample included 6872 respondents (49.6 % female; 70.0 % White; 15.8 % African American; 3.3 % Asian; 10.9 % Hispanic) from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. The results revealed that marital attitudes had a significantly stronger dampening effect on risky sexual behavior of lighter skin African Americans and Asians compared with their darker skin counterparts. Skin tone also directly predicted number of partners and concurrent partners among African American males and Asian females. We discuss theoretical and practical implications of these findings for adolescence and young adulthood.
... Furthermore, Whites have become more likely to marry, relative to Blacks or Hispanics (Teachman, Tedrow, & Crowder, 2000). High expectations of marriage, high relationship quality, and the absence of children from previous relationships also increase the likelihood of marrying (Qian, Lichter, & Mellott, 2005;Waller & McLanahan, 2005). Last, health status and health behaviors have also been identified as predictors of marriage, with lower chances of marriage and a more restricted pool of partners available to people experiencing health problems or disability (Carmalt, Cawley, Joyner, & Sobal, 2008;Janus, 2009;Tumin, 2016). ...
Article
Marriage promotion initiatives presume substantial health benefits of marriage. Current literature, however, has provided inconsistent results on whether these benefits would be shared by people unlikely to marry. We investigate whether the physical and mental health benefits of marriage depend on the likelihood of marriage. Whereas prior studies have compared health benefits of marriage across a single predictor of marriage chances, we define the likelihood of marriage as a composite of demographic, economic, and health characteristics. Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, we find that married adults are only modestly healthier than unmarried adults in both physical and mental dimensions. People with a higher likelihood of marriage generally do not reap greater health benefits from marriage than their counterparts. The only exception is that continuous marriage is more strongly associated with improved mental health among men who are more likely to be married.
... We did not find evidence in the European Social Survey data for any gender difference within married or cohabiting relationships. Our notion that there would be gender differences in the experience of a cohabiting or married relationship -in other words, differences in "his" and "her" expectations of the relationship, as often found in other studies (Fowers 1991;Waller and McLanahan 2005) -is probably not true for disagreements. Gender differences do exist, but they are unaffected by whether the couple is married or cohabiting: women report less conflict than men about housework and paid work. ...
Article
Background: Cross-national research suggests that married people have higher levels of well-being than cohabiting people. However, relationship quality has both positive and negative dimensions. Researchers have paid little attention to disagreements within cohabiting and married couples. Objective: This study aims to improve our understanding of the meaning of cohabitation by examining disagreements within marital and cohabiting relationships. We examine variations in couples' disagreements about housework, paid work and money by country and gender. Methods: The data come from the 2004 European Social Survey. We selected respondents living in a heterosexual couple relationship and aged between 18 and 45. In total, the study makes use of data from 22 European countries and 9,657 people. Given that our dependent variable was dichotomous, we estimated multilevel logit models, with (1) disagree and (0) never disagree. Results: We find that cohabitors had more disagreements about housework, the same disagreements about money, but fewer disagreements about paid work than did married people. These findings could not be explained by socio-economic or demographic measures, nor did we find gender or cross-country differences in the association between union status and conflict. Conclusions: Cohabiting couples have more disagreements about housework but fewer disagreements about paid work than married people. There are no gender or cross-country differences in these associations. The results provide further evidence that the meaning of cohabitation differs from that of marriage, and that this difference remains consistent across nations.
... Herein, partners' drug and alcohol problems stand out as main contributors to relationship discord (Burton et al., 2013;Carlson et al., 2004;Trail & Karney, 2012), as do women's fears of past, current, or future domestic violence and sexual abuse Cherlin et al., 2004;Macmillan, 2001). A lack of relationship trust has also been cited as one of the many reasons low-income women refrain from marrying Levine, 2013), as well as the perceived difficulties involved in integrating and managing children from new partners' previous relationships (Burton, 2014;Burton & Hardaway, 2012;Lichter, Qian, & Mellott, 2006;Waller & McLanahan, 2005). ...
Article
A common assertion in the family science literature is that low-income single mothers are increasingly retreating from marriage but still vaunt it as their ultimate relationship goal. To explain this paradox, scholars frequently cite inadequacies in men's marriageability, financial instability, and conflictual romantic relationships as primary forces in mothers' decisions not to marry. We propose an alternative reasoning for this paradox using symbolic interactionist theory and perspectives on poverty and uncertainty. Specifically, we highlight the contradictions between what women say about their desires to marry and what they actually do when the opportunity presents itself. We use exemplar cases from a longitudinal ethnographic study of low-income rural mothers to demonstrate our reasoning. Implications for future research and theory development are discussed.
... Racial and ethnic groups also show some difference in their rates of entry into the KIDS system, and these groups are roughly consistent with what we might expect about education and income and the were cohabiting (about 63 percent of the parents) were more likely to marry—at the rate of 15 percent to 17 percent. (See Carlson, McLanahan, and England, 2004; Osborne, 2005; Waller and McLanahan, 2005.) ...
Article
Starting in the mid-1990s, Wisconsin implemented policies to encourage the use of voluntary paternity acknowledgment (VPA) in cases of nonmarital births. These policies encourage the fathers of nonmarital children to acknowledge their paternity by signing and filing a form, instead of going through a judicial hearing. The motivation for these policies was the hope that reducing obstacles to establishing paternity would encourage fathers to increase financial and nonfinancial participation in their children’s lives. Our earlier report on the results of these policies (Brown, Cook, and Wimer, 2004) found that this method of paternity establishment was heavily used: 48 percent of nonmarital IV-D children born in 2001 had their paternity determined through the VPA process within 6 months after birth. We also found that, although fathers established by VPA were less likely than fathers established through adjudication to have a child support order for their children, they were more likely to pay child support when they did have an order. In addition, VPA fathers were more likely to have a shared physical placement order for their children than were adjudicated fathers. These differences persisted even after controlling for other observable dissimilarities between VPA and adjudicated fathers. This report expands upon the previous report in several ways:
... Each partner brings his or her own belief and attribute into the relationship that may affect the future of their marriage. (Waller and McLanahan, 2005). If desires, beliefs and expectations were not met in the matrimony, then it may cause distress and disappointment (Bennun, 1986). ...
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DEVELOPMENT OF BELIEFS REGARDING INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS SCALE: VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY ABSTRACT In this study, Beliefs Regarding Intimate Relationships Scale (BRIRS) was developed to determine the single university students’ beliefs of changing their partners thoughts about the marital life. It is investigated whether the BRIRS is adequate for measuring the beliefs regarding to intimate relationships. The sample of the study consisted of total 239 individuals being 181 female and 58 male who continue their education in Gazi University. The age range of the participants is between 18 and 30 and the mean age is 23.6. Findings show that 17 items on the scale measure their beliefs that university students can change their partners according to their expectations in 5 dimensions (socioeconomic factors, relationship style, family, sexuality, support / trust) and explained the %63,95 of total variance. The validity coefficients of the Confirmatory Factor Analysis were found to be χ2 / sd = 2.31, RMSEA = 0.081, NFI = .86, CFI = .92, GFI = .87 and AGFI = .81 in order to test the factor structure of the scale and it shows that scale is acceptable. Internal consistency of the scale Cronbach's Alpha values are; .808 for all of the scale; .671 for "socioeconomic factors", .641 for "relationship style", .541 for "family", .621 for "sexuality" and .501 for "support / trust". These values show that the internal consistency of the scale is high in the scale sum. The findings revealed that BRIRS is valid and reliable tool in measuring beliefs regarding intimate relationships. The scale can be implemented for both identifying the underlying causes of the problems of couples who seek help from a family counselor and premarital educational programs.
... The primary focus of fatherhood research in the Fragile Families study has been to understand which fathers are most likely to remain involved in their children's lives, despite the fragility of the father-mother relationship. Among unmarried fathers in the project, most claim to value marriage very highly (Waller & McLanahan, 2005), but one year after the birth of their child, only 10% were married. By two years after the child's birth, 20% of fathers no longer had any contact with their children (McLanahan & Carlson, 2004). ...
... Homogamietendenzen ersetzt zu sein (Mare 1991;Blossfeld 2009 Schumm et al. 1985;Jackson et al. 2014Waller/McLanahan 2005. Die Grundüberlegung von Bernard ist schnell und klar formulierbar: "There are two marriages in every marital union, his and hers. ...
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Gerade in der populärwissenschaftlichen Literatur zu Beziehungen und Partnerschaften finden sich immer wieder Hinweise darauf, dass die Geschlechterdimension einen entscheidenden Einfluss auf die Wahrnehmung der Welt, aber auch die Fähigkeiten und allgemeinen Sichtweisen und Einstellungen von Männern und Frauen besitzt. Ein seit nun mehr als zwei Jahrzehnten sehr erfolgreich verkauftes Buch – zumindest wenn man den sicherlich kritisierbaren Indikatoren der entsprechenden Online-Händler vertrauen mag – trägt den Titel „Männer sind vom Mars, Frauen von der Venus“ (Evatt 1994) und behandelt die vermeintlichen oder realen 1.001 kleinen Unterschiede zwischen den Geschlechtern. Wie der Titel der US-amerikanischen Originalausgabe – „opposite sides of the bed“ – deutlich macht, stehen dabei nicht so sehr allgemeine Unterschiede zwischen den Männern und den Frauen im Mittelpunkt, sondern zwischen den Partnern in einer Beziehung.
... It also creates social barriers to union exit by formally linking partners' families, social networks, and other institutions (Stolzenberg, Blair-Loy, & Waite, 1995). Although marriage is less common among incarcerated individuals (Lopoo & Western, 2005), it is still highly valued among disadvantaged groups in which incarceration is prevalent (Waller & McLanahan, 2005;Western, Lopoo, & McLanahan, 2004). After an incarceration, married couples may be more likely than cohabiters to stay together. ...
Article
The U.S. incarceration rate rose dramatically over the past 45 years, increasing the number of marriages and cohabiting unions disrupted by a jail or prison stay. But as some have pointed out, not all unions dissolve as a result of incarceration, and there seems to be racial–ethnic variation in this tendency, with Blacks displaying higher rates of dissolution than Whites and Hispanics. Yet it is unclear what explains racial–ethnic differences in union dissolution among the incarcerated. Drawing on the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97), we examine why racial–ethnic differences in union dissolution exist among a sample of individuals who had a marital or a cohabiting union interrupted by an incarceration spell. In doing so, we draw on social exchange theory and structural and cultural theories to suggest that racial–ethnic disparities in union dissolution are explained by differential exposure to protective relationship characteristics. The results of Cox hazard models reveal that Blacks have significantly higher hazards of union dissolution than do Whites and Hispanics. These results also indicate that being married, having a child together, having full‐time employment, a longer union duration, and a shorter incarceration spell may protect against dissolution and that these factors account, in part, for the greater risk of dissolution among Blacks relative to Whites and Hispanics.
... In turn, she will likely marry only after-or near-attaining 18 years of age. A handful of previous studies document the influence of expectations on entrance into marriage (Liefbroer et al. 1994;Guzzo 2009;Waller and McLanahan 2005). ...
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Do timing attitudes—subjective evaluations of particular ages as good ages to marry—influence entrance into marriage? To address this question, we formulated an intergenerational model of how parents’ and children’s timing attitudes influence children’s marriage behavior. We theorized that both parents’ and children’s timing attitudes influence expectations of when children will marry. In turn, both parents’ and children’s marital expectations would influence children’s actual entrance into marriage. We tested the model using intergenerational panel data from Nepal collected in 2008–2014. Timing attitudes of young people and their parents did influence expectations, as well as entrance into marriage. Young people’s own attitudes were more influential than their parents’ attitudes in determining children’s expectations, but not behavior. Further, while the influence of parents was relatively even, mothers appear slightly more influential than fathers.
... Therefore, couple satisfaction can easily take the relation satisfaction's definition, namely the balance between the positive and negative affect (Rusbult, Martz, & Agnew, 1998). However, men and women view their relationships differently and thus their paths towards satisfaction are not always similar (Fowers, 1991;Waller & McLanahan, 2005). ...
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Couple satisfaction is a subject of interest for everyone that is in a romantic relationship and it deserves a great deal of attention from researchers. This study focused on the relations between communication patterns, benevolent sexism, hostile sexism, sex roles, and couple satisfaction. We gathered data from 121 female participants aged between 19 and 26 years. The instruments used to assess the variables were: Communication Patterns Questionnaire-Short Form, Ambivalent Sexism Inventory, Traditional Egalitarian Sex Role Scale, and Relationship Assessment Scale. The results showed that communication patterns are significantly associated with couple satisfaction. Women who preferred the constructive communication pattern had a higher level of couple satisfaction compared with those who preferred the woman demands/man withdraws pattern or the man demands/ woman withdraws pattern. Also, the regression we computed revealed that the model is a significant one and explained a significant proportion of variance in couple satisfaction. This study didn't reveal any other significant results.
... Despite experiencing low marriage rates themselves, even low-income mothers hope to marry (Edin and Kefalas 2005). The majority, 61%, of parents in unmarried couples who recently had a child report relatively high expectations for marriage (greater than 50/50 chance of marriage) (Waller and McLanahan 2005). ...
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Cohabitation has surpassed marriage as the most common union experience in young adulthood. We capitalize on a new opportunity to examine both marital and cohabitation expectations among young single women in recently collected, nationally representative data (National Survey of Family Growth 2011–2015) (N = 1467). In the US there appears to be a ‘stalled’ second demographic transition as single young adult (ages 18–24) women have stronger expectations to marry than cohabit and the vast majority expects to, or has, already married. Among young women expecting to marry, the majority (68%) expect to cohabit with their future spouse but about one-third expect to follow a traditional relationship pathway into marriage (to marry without cohabiting first). In addition, women from disadvantaged backgrounds report the lowest expectations to marry, but there is no education gradient in expectations to cohabit. Marriage expectations follow a “diverging destinies” pattern, which stresses a growing educational divide, but this is not the case for cohabitation expectations. Our results, based on recently collected data, provide insight into the contemporary context of union formation decision-making for the millennial generation.
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Marriage plays an important role in the establishment of families, which are the basis of society. On the other hand, with the event happening of social changes, the perspective of marriage has changed, and the rate of marriage has gradually decreased. However, in most societies today, individuals are expected to marry. Thus, it is important to investigate attitudes towards marriage and related factors. This study discusses marital role expectations, which include thoughts of individuals about how they and their partners will behave in marriage. Marriage role expectations, in a sense, include their beliefs about what they will encounter in marriage, so it is thought that this may influence attitudes towards marriage. Accordingly, the main purpose of this study was to investigate the predictive role of marriage role expectations on the attitudes towards marriage. The sample comprised of 484 individuals over the age of 18 (70.2% female, 29.8% male, average age was 26.02, ±5.14). The findings of the study indicated that the proposed model significantly explained attitudes towards marriage (F(3,480)= 27.60, p
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The increases in cohabitation and in childbearing within cohabitation raise questions about who marries. Most studies have found that childbearing within cohabitation is associated with disadvantage; here, we examine the role of relationship happiness and whether it helps to explain this association. Using the UK Household Longitudinal Study (2009–17), our competing risk hazard models follow respondents as they transition: (1) from cohabitation into marriage or childbearing; and (2) from marriage or cohabitation into childbearing. We find that marriage risks are highest among individuals who are happiest with their relationship. On average, the association between relationship quality and childbearing operates through marriage: the happiest individuals marry, and those who marry have children. While higher socio-economic status is weakly associated with marriage, conception, and separation, the associations do not differ by relationship happiness. The findings indicate that overall, relationship happiness appears to be most salient for transitions into marriage.
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Background: Most prenatal preventive interventions for unmarried mothers do not integrate fathers or help the parents plan for the development of a functional coparenting alliance after the baby's arrival. Furthermore, properly trained professionals have only rarely examined the fidelity of these interventions. Purpose: This report examines whether experienced community interventionists (home visitors, health educators, fatherhood service personnel) with no formal couples' therapy training are capable of pairing together to deliver with adequate fidelity a manualized dyadic intervention designed for expectant unmarried mothers and fathers. Methods: Three male and four female mentors (home visitors, health educators, fatherhood personnel) working in paired male-female co-mentor teams delivered a seven-session "Figuring It Out for the Child" curriculum (six prenatal sessions, one booster) to 14 multirisk, unmarried African American families (parent age ranging from 14 to 40). Parental well-being and views of fatherhood were assessed before the intervention and again 3 months after the baby's birth. Quality assurance analysts evaluated mentor fidelity (adherence to the curriculum, competence in engaging couples with specified curricular content) through a review of the transcripts and audiotapes from the sessions. Mentors also rated their own adherence. Results: Although the mentors overestimated adherence, quality assurance analyst ratings found acceptable levels of adherence and competence, with no significant male-female differences in fidelity. Adherence and competence were marginally higher in sessions that required fewer direct couples' interventions. Parents reported satisfaction with the interventions and showed statistically significant improvement in the family dimensions of interest at 3-4 months posttreatment. Conclusions/implications for practice: Findings support the wisdom of engaging men both as interventionists and as recipients of prenatal coparenting interventions-even in families where the parents are uncoupled and non-co-residential.
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Digital technologies govern a large part of our social lives, including the pursuit of a romantic partner. Despite recent inquiries into the social consequences of meeting online, what remains unclear is how the link between education and union formation varies in online versus offline meeting contexts, particularly on the backdrop of growing educational gaps in marriage. Using 2008–2019 pairfam data from Germany (N = 3,561), this study ran a series of Fine-Gray competing risks models to assess how online dating shapes the transition to marriage for partnered adults with nontertiary and tertiary education. Results reveal that irrespective of education, men in online-formed couples had greater chances of marrying than men in couples established offline. Highly educated women who met their partner in nondigital ways were less prone to marry than lower-educated women; for women in couples initiated online, however, the pattern was reversed. The internet dating marriage advantage of well-educated women was partly related to better matching on marriage attitudes and gender ideology. Facing a scarcity of eligible partners offline, high-educated women draw on more abundant online options to select more egalitarian-minded men. This study overall suggests that internet dating fosters an uneven distribution of opportunities for marriage, highlighting the role of digital partner markets in the social demography of union formation.
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Although social scientists have generally assumed that people's standards for a spouse shape their marital behavior, systematic investigations of the role of mate standards in partnering have been rare. Using survey data collected from 471 unmarried individuals and their peer informants, this study used a novel, residual-based approach to quantify the attainability (rather than the absolute stringency) of people's standards for a spouse. Regression analyses using this index of unrealistic criteria revealed that holding less realistic standards for a marriage partner was associated with several indicators of a propensity to delay or forgo marriage, including greater difficulty establishing high-quality romantic relationships, lower expectations to marry one's current partner, and lower levels of psychological and behavioral investment in marrying.
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Today the phenomenon of getting married at a young age is rising and shown through social media. According to Islamic religious rules, there are many pros and contras against this phenomenon, especially related to marriage. It has led to various pre-marriage educational programs as a means of understanding and preparing for marriage. This study aimed to explore the experiences of a single woman in emerging adulthood who participates in Pre-Marriage Talk Class. This study used a qualitative approach with the snowball sampling technique. A total of 5 respondents participated in this study, and data were collected through an online interview. We used the thematic analysis to analyze the data. The results showed that Pre-Marriage Talk Class provides additional knowledge, awareness, and mindset to participants, including 1) knowledge about the age of 84 Martabat: Jurnal Perempuan dan Anak marriage; 2) knowledge about the vision and mission of getting married; 3) awareness of knowing the self; 4) knowledge of managing the self and environment, and 5) changing mindset. From the results, we can conclude that Pre-Marriage Talk Class is a suitable program for emerging adults who want to gain knowledge and skills related to themselves, how to manage self and environment, as well as an overview of the dynamics of married life that can be anticipated
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Classic and contemporary studies of mate selection share a common goal: to describe and explain how individuals in romantic unions choose one another as partners. Upon first reading, this definition may seem to imply that mate selection is concerned only with choosing a partner for a committed relationship, but the study of mate selection is much more varied and dynamic in its focus. A full understanding of mate selection requires attention to the development and maintenance of romantic relationships, including their very beginnings and endings and the ups and downs in between. In this chapter, we review research aimed at these topics and suggest ways in which they are and are not being addressed. Because other chapters in this volume are devoted to cohabitation and to gay and lesbian relationships, we concentrate on mate selection in heterosexual relationships, and we discuss cohabitation only as it pertains to contemporary dating relationships and mate selection.
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Men’s employment is an important predictor of union formation and couples’ transitions to marriage, but previous research has not investigated the extent to which the type of men’s employment affects the likelihood of marriage. To fill this gap, we use multinomial logistic regression and data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N = 3,128) to explore whether men’s employment in the underground economy inhibits or promotes the transition to marriage among unmarried parents three years after the birth of their child. The results show that underground work is associated with relationship instability and serves as a barrier to marriage. Thus, in fragile families, the type of work that the father does, independent of the amount of income he earns from such employment, drives couples’ decisions to marry. Implications for research and policy that stem from the findings are discussed.
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This study analyzed the behaviors during married couples’ problem solving interactions with Markov analysis and test the predictable effect of these behaviors on marital satisfaction. The study involved 25 married couples. The findings show that gender had a significant effect on the behaviors during the interaction. Positive behaviors such as positive solution and acceptance facilitated the couples’ understanding each other, listening made the experienced problems clearer, criticizing such as making excuses caused a reaction that was ineffective; negative behaviors predicted marital satisfaction significantly.
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Cohabitation, or living together in an intimate sexual relationship outside of marriage, has become normative across many world regions. This chapter reviews and evaluates knowledge on heterosexual cohabitation, with an emphasis on recent research in the United States. In this chapter, we first review basic trends and patterns regarding cohabitation in the United States, followed by a discussion of cohabitation patterns around the globe. We next identify four major research questions central to understanding recent research on cohabitation and synthesize the findings. Finally, we discuss several implications of the current state of knowledge about cohabitation.
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Abstract Introduction: Dysfunctional relationship beliefs are one of the factors affecting marital dissatisfaction in couples applying for the divorce. The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of McMaster and Bowen family therapy approaches on the relationship beliefs of couples applying for the divorce. Methods: This study was a quasi-experimental method including a pretest-posttest with a control group. The statistical population consisted of all couples applying for the divorce and referred by the family court to counseling centers of Rasht city in 2017. Through the available sampling method, forty-eight couples who meet research entering criteria were selected as study and randomly assigned to three groups of sixteen people; in the end, the number reduced to ten people in each group due to Exit criteria. Two methods of McMaster and Bowen family therapy approaches were performed for Eight sessions of one hundred twenty minutes each for two experimental groups; while the control group did not receive any intervention. After completing the sessions, the post-test was applied to all groups. The instrument of this study was the Edelson & Epstein's Relationship Beliefs Inventory. Data were analyzed using analysis of covariance and LSD post hoc test by SPSS22. Results: The results of the analysis of covariance and LSD post hoc test showed that Bowen Family Therapy and McMaster's model had a significant effect on couples' relationship beliefs while Bowen's approach was more effective. (P = 0.037) Conclusions: The results showed that Bowen family therapy was more effective than McMaster's model on relationship beliefs in couples applying for the divorce. Therefore, this approach can be used to reduce dysfunctional relationship beliefs in couples applying for the divorce. Please cite this article as follows: Saeedpoor F, Asghari F, Nadi E, and Sayadi A. Comparison of the effectiveness of the Bowen family therapy approach and McMaster's model on relationship beliefs in couples applying for divorce. Quarterly journal of social work. 2020; 9 (1); 57-64 Downloaded from socialworkmag.ir at 0:25 +0330 on Tuesday January 5th 2021
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A small but growing share of sociological research recognizes the importance of perceptions of the future for explaining social outcomes. This article, taking a sociology of knowledge perspective, provides a systematic study of sociological scholarship dealing empirically with perceptions of the future. It is based on a qualitatively driven mixed methods analysis of 571 sociological research articles published between 1950 and 2019 and distinguishes between three clusters of scholarship: in the first cluster authors consider future orientations as either dependent or independent variable; in the second cluster they analyze the multifaceted ways in which actors imagine the future; and in the third cluster they are interested in the politically contested construction and diffusion of future orientations. By investigating these clusters, the article demonstrates how sociologists pay attention to future orientations in a broad spectrum of sociological fields, using a variety of methods and asking a wide set of questions about assessments of the future. The future is increasingly a realm of sociological analysis. We show how this field of research is structured and has developed over time. Elaborating on different facets of research that so far operate largely in isolation from each other, we aim to contribute to the development of the field. Sociology could benefit from more systematically integrating perceptions of the future – as they are reflected in actor expectations, aspirations, and future beliefs – into the discipline's empirical investigations and explanatory models and from integrating the existing knowledge on these issues better.
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Over the past several decades family patterns have changed markedly in the United States and numerous other countries. Prominent increases in nonmarital cohabitation have been central to this change. It is now the norm for individuals to cohabit, whether or not the cohabitation leads to marriage, and the vast majority of marriages now begin as cohabiting relationships. While cohabitation is now common across most population subgroups, there remain economic and racial ethnic differences in the extent to which cohabitation is tied to marriage. Those with higher incomes and education are more likely to transform their cohabiting relationships into marital ones. Major research issues about cohabitation include understanding the striking increase in its popularity, measurement, the implications of cohabitation for children, and the relationship between premarital cohabitation and marital stability.
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This paper examines the association between chronic illness and union dissolution by examining rich, longitudinal data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. Using competing-risks discrete-time event-history models on longitudinal, dyadic data, we find the risk of union dissolution to be approximately 40 percent higher when either partner reports an illness than in the absence of an illness. We then examine whether the observed associations are mediated by variations in paid work, housework, financial stress and time stress. Financial stress is the factor that contributes most to the indirect associations between dissolution and partner’s health condition, but overall these factors account for only 18.5 percent of the association between chronic illness and relationship dissolution. Our results provide further insight into the factors undermining relationship stability and highlight the importance of reducing financial stress associated with chronic illness.
Article
Most youth desire to marry, and often around a certain age, but many individuals marry earlier or later than originally desired. Off-time marriage could have consequences for subsequent relationship stability and mental health. Whereas barriers to marriage goals in the short term have been studied extensively, predictors of meeting marital timing expectations over the life course are less well understood. This study examined possible barriers, including socioeconomic characteristics and family experiences, both background and formation, to meeting marital timing desires by age 40 using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 cohort (NLSY79). Multinomial logistic regression revealed that greater education, religiousness, cohabitation, and premarital childbearing were associated with delayed or forgone marriage, but associations varied by gender and the age at which respondents stated their expectations.
Article
Most young people in the United States express the desire to marry. Norms at all socioeconomic levels posit marriage as the optimal context for childbearing. At the same time, nonmarital fertility accounts for approximately 40 % of U.S. births, experienced disproportionately by women with educational attainment less than a bachelor’s degree. Research has shown that women’s intentions for the number and timing of children and couples’ intent to marry are strong predictors of realized fertility and marriage. The present study investigates whether U.S. young women’s preferences about nonmarital fertility, as stated before childbearing begins, predict their likelihood of having a nonmarital first birth. I track marriage and fertility histories through ages 24–30 of women asked at ages 11–16 whether they would consider unmarried childbearing. One-quarter of women who responded “no” in fact had a nonmarital birth by age 24–30. The ability of women and their partners to access material resources in adulthood were, as expected, the strongest predictors of the likelihood of nonmarital childbearing. Nonetheless, I find that women who said they would not consider nonmarital childbearing had substantially higher hazards of fertility postponement and especially of marital fertility, even after controlling for race/ethnicity, mother’s educational attainment, family of origin intactness, self-efficacy and planning ability, perceived future prospects, and markers of own educational attainment and work experience into early adulthood.
Article
This study examined the contribution of stressors deriving from the work-family interface to explaining two aspects of the quality of the couple relationship among men versus women: satisfaction with sexual life and satisfaction with couplehood. The sample comprised 276 heterosexual Israeli participants (136 men, 140 women). The examined stressors included objective overload at home and at work (assessed by the number of hours devoted daily to each domain), subjective overload, and the experience of role conflict (family interferes with work [FIW], and work interferes with family [WIF]). The data were analyzed using structural equation modelling. For both genders, satisfaction with the daily amount of time that the partner devotes to the home and family domains explained satisfaction with sexual life and satisfaction with couplehood. Among women, satisfaction with sexual life was explained by the experience of WIF conflict, whereas satisfaction with couplehood was explained by the experience of FIW conflict. Furthermore, egalitarian gender-role attitudes correlated positively with men’s sexual satisfaction and negatively with the intensity of FIW conflict. We concluded that for women, work-family stressors affected the quality of the couple relationship, whereas the impact of egalitarian gender-role attitudes on the quality of the couple relationship was greater for men.
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None of the boys wanted to marry me because I was too dark and they were already asking me “you know your children are going to come out really, really dark and that’s not good.” But my light skinned friend got married to a different boy every day. But, I didn’t because I wasn’t light enough, and that really hurt my feelings, and to this day, it still brings me back to the idea that I’m not good enough (Awad et al., 2014, p. 550).
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Despite research on religion and marriage, little is known about the role of religion in the relationships of nonmarried couples. This study addresses two questions: (a) Do various dimensions of religious involvement—shared religious beliefs, affiliation and attendance, and theistic sanctification—influence the relationship satisfaction and marital expectations of dating and cohabiting individuals? (b) Is the association mediated by positive and negative relationship behaviors by the respondent and/or partner? We investigate these questions using the National Survey of Religion and Family Life, a nationwide sample of working-age adults, aged 18 to 59 years (n = 468) with oversamples of African Americans and Latinos. Various dimensions of religious involvement are positively associated with the relationship satisfaction and expectations to marry among nonmarried individuals. Positive and negative relationship behaviors slightly diminish the link between religion and (a) relationship satisfaction and (b) expectations of marriage. Several implications and promising directions for future research are discussed.
Article
More than three decades after Jessie Bernard’s argument on marriage is good for men, but not for women, the post-millennium marriage and family literature has largely shown that men’s reported marital satisfaction is higher than women’s across socio-cultural contexts. This study examines gender differences in marital satisfaction from a social network perspective, investigating the role of ‘known friendship network’ using cross-sectional, large-N samples in mainland China, Taiwan, and the United States. The ‘known friendship network’ concept captures the cognitive component of an individual’s perception of their knowledge of the spouse’s ‘interactive networks’ [Milardo, R. M. (1989). Theoretical and methodological issues in the identification of the social networks of spouses. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 51(1), 165–174. https://doi.org/10.2307/352377. We found that knowing more of one’s spouse’s friends enhances marital satisfaction in an incremental fashion, especially in Taiwan and the United States. The lower importance in China may reflect China’s predominantly kinship-based social networks. Regarding how ‘known friendship network’ patterns explain marital satisfaction, the United States has the least pronounced gender differences, while the gender gap is most significant in Taiwan. This study contributes to the cross-cultural literature on relationship satisfaction, social networks, and global family change. Our findings have complex implications for marital selectivity and the gendered connotations of marriage, suggesting a marital expectations mismatch among heterosexual couples in some low fertility contexts.
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This article argues that marriage and cohabitation are associated with important differences in work patterns, earnings, treatment of money, use of leisure time, social relations with the extended family, the division of household labor, and fertility. We hypothesize that these differences lead those considering the formation of a household to consider their attitudes toward these aspects of life, which appear to be so different in marriage from those in cohabitation. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972, we test and find support for the hypothesis that the choice between cohabitation and marriage is affected by attitudes and values toward work, family, use of leisure time, money, and sex roles, as well as values and attitudes toward marriage itself.
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This study examines potential racial and ethnic differences in early adolescent girls' desired and perceived normative role timing and the extent to which various socioeconomic and family factors and school and job aspirations might be linked with girls' role-timing expectations. Using a racially and ethnically diverse sample, (n = 574; 183 Hispanics, 177 Blacks, 93 Whites, and 70 Southeast Asians; M age = 12.9), results indicated that young women of different races and ethnicities saw their life course unfold in different sequences based on different timetables and independent of their socioeconomic circumstances. Hispanics desired rapid transitions at a young age, and Southeast Asians desired more gradual transitions at an older age. Blacks perceived the greatest likelihood of nonmarital childbearing for themselves, the longest normative interval between first sex and first birth, but they desired the shortest interval between first marriage and first birth. Within-race regressions revealed that girls' future aspirations were important for their expected role timing, even within the context of socioeconomic disadvantage (welfare receipt, low family income). Findings suggest the importance of culture-specific age norms for motivating role timing and role sequencing in young women's lives.
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Forty-seven couples who were first-time parents were assessed in late pregnancy and again at 6 and 18 months postpartum. Fifteen couples not yet decided about having a baby were assessed at equivalent times. Actual involvement in household, decision-making, and childcare roles was determined by responses to a 36-item "Who Does What?" questionnaire. Psychological involvement in parent, partner, and worker roles was also determined, as was each partner's satisfaction with behavioral and psychological involvement in each domain. On the basis of global analyses, previous studies have suggested that new parents adopt more traditional roles. Item analyses indicated that men's and women's roles change in both traditional and nontraditional ways during the transition to parenthood, depending on the item and the time of assessment. Measures of individual and couple adaption were also obtained: self-esteem, parenting stress, and marital satisfaction. Men's involvement in family tasks was correlated with their own or their wives adaption in pregnancy but became linked with adaptation at 6 months postpartum. However, at 18 months after birth husbands' involvement in family tasks was correlated only with wives' adaptation. For both parents, satisfaction with family task arrangements becomes correlated with self-esteem, parenting stress and marital quality after childbirth; these measures of adaptation are more closely linked with role satisfaction than with actual sharing of family work.
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We evaluate a marital search model that links the quantity and quality of available men to first marriage transitions among black women and white women in the United States. Our analysis provides a more complex assessment of the hypothesis that racial differences in transitions to first marriage reflect shortages of marriageable men in local marriage markets. We attach several indicators of local marriage market conditions (primarily sex ratios from the 1980 Census) to women's marital histories available in the 1979 through 1986 waves of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Our discrete-time logit models support the following conclusions: (1) A shortage in the quantity and quality of available males in local areas depresses women's transitions to first marriage; (2) economic independence among women (as measured by employment and earnings) is positively associated with entry into marriage; (3) racial differences in mate availability account for a relatively small share of existing racial differences in marriage; (4) indicators of local mate availability nevertheless account for a larger proportion of observed racial differences in transitions to first marriage than factors such as family background, welfare status and living arrangements (e.g., multigenerational family); (5) the effects of marriage market characteristics are contingent on whether women are ''searching'' in the marriage market; and (6) the effect of a shortage of ''economically attractive'' men is not simply an artifact of local demographic deficits of men to marry.
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This paper documents increasing cohabitation in the United States, and the implications of this trend for the family lives of children. The stability of marriage-like relationships (including marriage and cohabitation) has decreased despite a constant divorce rate. Children increasingly live in cohabiting families either as a result of being born to cohabiting parents or of their mother s entry into a cohabiting union. The proportion of births to unmarried women born into cohabiting families increased from 29 to 39 per cent in the period 1980-84 to 1990-94, accounting for almost all of the increase in unmarried childbearing. As a consequence, about two-fifths of all children spend some time in a cohabiting family, and the greater instability of families begun by cohabitation means that children are also more likely to experience family disruption. Estimates from multi-state life tables indicate the extent to which the family lives of children are spent increasingly in cohabiting families and decreasingly in married families.
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This paper documents the extent and correlates of multiple partner fertility among parents in the Fragile Families and Child Well-being Survey in order to assess the opportunities and challenges that await marriage promotion policies which are attracting the attention of policy makers. We find that the majority of mothers who responded to the baseline and 12-month follow-up surveys are not first time mothers and the majority of mothers with two or more children have had at least one child with someone other than the father of their newborn. According to mothers’ reports, fathers are equally likely to exhibit multiple partner fertility. While the descriptive analysis cannot speak to causation, our results are certainly consistent with the hypothesis that multiple partner fertility reduces the probability of marriage for mothers and fathers. Multiple partner fertility is rare among teenaged mothers, but fairly high among African American mothers and fathers, which may help to explain the low-marriage probabilities. Our results suggest that marriage promotion strategies will have their greatest opportunity among unwed mothers in their early twenties and the fathers of their children, but high rates of multiple partner fertility are expected to reduce the effective of such efforts among African Americans.
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This paper focuses on the causes of marital instability. Section I develops a theoretical analysis of marital dissolution, incorporating uncertainty about outcomes of marital decisions into a framework of utility maximization and the marriage market. Section II explores implications of the theoretical analysis with cross-sectional data, primarily the 1967 Survey of Economic Opportunity and the Terman sample. The relevance of both the theoretical and empirical analyses in explaining the recent acceleration in divorce rates is also discussed.