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Cohabitation and Marital Dissolution. Wendy D. Manning Department of Sociology Center for Family and Demographic Research National Center for Family and Demographic Research Bowling Green State University.

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cohabitation and marital dissolution

Cohabitation and Marital Dissolution

Wendy D. Manning

Department of Sociology

Center for Family and Demographic Research

National Center for Family and Demographic Research

Bowling Green State University

slide2

OutlineTrends in Canada and USStudies of Cohabitation and Marital DissolutionQualitative FindingsQuantitative ResultsDiscussionCollaborators: Jessica Cohen, Pamela Smock

slide3

Marriage

  • Crude Marriage Rate
    • Women US 7.4 Canada 4.4
  • Adjusted Rate per 1,000 unmarried (15+)
    • Women US 32.9 Canada 22.2
  • Proportion Population Married (20+)
  • Women US 52.9%% Canada 39.3%
slide4

Age at First Marriage, 1950-2010

Data from Statistics Canada and the U.S. Census

slide5

Cohabitation

  • Percent population cohabiting (20+)
    • US 5.5% Canada 8.9%
  • 1970-79 20% of Canadian women married with cohabitation.
  • 2000-2006 27% of Canadian women married with
  • cohabitation. (France-PascaleMénardMcGill Sociological Review, Vol. 2, April 2011 )
  • 1965-74 11% of US women married with cohabitation.
  • 2000-2008 67% of US women married with cohabitation. (NCFMR - Manning, 2011)
slide6

Couple Households

Data from Statistics Canada and the U.S. Census

slide8

Divorce

  • Crude Divorce Rate (per 1,000 Population):

2.2 2005 Canada

3.8 2010 US

  • Divorce Rate per 1,000 Married women 15+
  • 9.2 Canada US 16.4
  • Percent population divorced:
    • 5.1% 2007 Canada 8.7% US 2010
  • Marriage Cohort
    • 2008 Canada ~41% 2010 US~50%
cohabitation trends1
Cohabitation Trends

Increase in cohabitation

cohabitation trends2
Cohabitation Trends
  • Majority of Newlyweds Cohabit
cohabitation paradox
Cohabitation Paradox

Marital Search Perspective –

Cohabitation “weed out” poor matches

NSFH --

“Couples can be sure they are compatible before marriage” 51% and 56% of young men and women endorsing it as important.

(Bumpass, Sweet, and Cherlin 1991)

cohabitation and marital dissolution1
Cohabitation and Marital Dissolution
  • Positive association between cohabitation and marital dissolution
    • Newcomb and Bentler (1980)
    • Newcomb (1986)
    • Bennet, Blanc and Bloom (1988) -- Sweden
    • Teachman and Polonko (1990)
    • DeMaris and Rao (1992)
    • Schoen (1992)
    • DeMaris and McDonald (1993)
    • Lillard, Brien, and Waite (1995)
    • Woods and Emery (2002)
    • Teachman (2002)
    • Teachman (2003)
    • Kamp Dush, Cohen and Amato (2003)
    • Phillips and Sweeney (2005)
    • Brown, Sanchez, Nock, and Wright (2006)
    • Stanley,Rhoades, Amato, Markman, and Johnson (2010)
    • Rheinhold (2010)
    • Jose, O’Leary, and Moyer (2010) -– Meta-analysis
qualitative data
Qualitative Data

Views of Cohabitation

  • Divorce-proof marriages
  • Learn more about partner
  • Practice marital roles – lease, test drive
cohabitation marriage in america

Cohabitation & Marriage in America

115 semistructured interviews: young adults who have ever cohabited

60 couples: cohabiting, married, or dating

18 focus groups ≈ 126 young adults

P.I.’s: Wendy Manning and Pamela SmockNIH: R03HD039835 and R01HD040910

cohabiting couple test drive
Cohabiting Couple: Test Drive

Joy:

I kinda have the theory of, you know, test drive {LAUGH}. Test drive the car before you buy it. You know? Just kinda see, you know, because you could love each other but not be able to live with each other. Like if he’s a slob and I’m very clean, I would have a big problem with that.

Bill:

[Cohabitation] It’s good, but it’s bad. It’s good because, umm, it will, you get to know the person and their habits before you get married. So that way, you won’t have to get divorced. Or, some of the problems will come up before so you can work them all out before you get married.

cohabiting couple edge
Cohabiting Couple: Edge

Lee:

I think living together gives you that edge on people who don’t live together before marriage, because you know what it is going to be like. You can make it last longer … you know how to deal with problems of married life, at least that is what I think about it.

married couple roles
Married Couple: Roles

Damion:

Cohabitation prepared them for marriage becauseit showed who’s gonna be the one paying the bills, who’s gonna be the one doing that kind of stuff. That was a big thing. I guess, setting up roles. Like I would do the yard work, we both do the housework, she pays all the bills.

Jen:

Umm, it just helped me see what being married to him would be like. That he doesn’t clean, he doesn’t really cook, and that I had to be okay with that. Umm, how he spent his money or how he doesn’t spend his money, or how he doesn’t check the mail, how he doesn’t pay the bills and that I have to do that.

married couple divorce
Married Couple: Divorce

Leah:

At least you know how he’s gonna be around you, instead of getting married and then living together for the first time. I think people would get more divorced because they don’t know how that person acts.

---------------------------------------------

Denise:

I think maybe you’ll have more of a chance of getting divorced if you don’t live with somebody first, just ‘cause then you don’t know what to expect. Marriage is, harder than I thought it would be sometimes. Marriage is a lot of work, but anything is, I guess.

married couple divorce1
Married Couple: Divorce

Maria.

1st interview: “It’s not a big deal to me anymore because I’m already his wife you know. …Nothing is going to change.”

2nd interview: “The biggest mistake was thinking that nothing was going to change, I didn’t know my feelings about it would change …I had commitment before, and I have commitment now, but now it’s a wife commitment”

recent reports
Recent Reports

Living together prior to marriage may help prevent divorce

  • National (15-44: 2008-2010)
    • 68% Men 58% Women

Agree or Strongly Agree

  • Young Adults (18-24: 2006)

60% Agree or Strongly Agree

prior studies
Prior Studies

Findings

Complications

Explanations

cohabitation and marital dissolution2
Cohabitation and Marital Dissolution
  • Positive association between cohabitation and marital dissolution
    • Newcomb and Bentler (1980)
    • Newcomb (1986)
    • Bennet, Blanc and Bloom (1988) -- Sweden
    • Teachman and Polonko (1990)
    • DeMaris and Rao (1992)
    • Schoen (1992)
    • DeMaris and McDonald (1993)
    • Lillard, Brien, and Waite (1995)
    • Woods and Emery (2002)
    • Teachman (2002)
    • Teachman (2003)
    • Kamp Dush, Cohen and Amato (2003)
    • Phillips and Sweeney (2005)
    • Brown, Sanchez, Nock, and Wright (2006)
    • Stanley,Rhoades, Amato, Markman, and Johnson (2010)
    • Rheinhold (2010)
    • Jose, O’Leary, and Moyer (2010) -– Meta-analysis
cohabitation and marital dissolution3
Cohabitation and Marital Dissolution
  • Positive association between cohabitation and marital dissolution
    • Selection Hypothesis
    • Cohabitation Experience Hypothesis
    • Inertia Hypothesis
    • Diffusion Hypothesis
cohabitation and marital dissolution4
Cohabitation and Marital Dissolution
  • Complications:
    • Marriage Cohort
    • Engagement
    • Race/Ethnicity
    • Sexual History
    • Serial Cohabitation
quantitative analysis
Quantitative Analysis

What is the relationship between cohabitation and marital dissolution?

  • Engagement/Definite Plans for Marriage
  • Marriage Cohort
slide31
Data
  • 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth
    • 7,356 women ages 15-44
    • 6,139 men ages 15-44
  • Analytic sample
    • 2,003 ever-married women since 1996
    • 1,483 ever-married men since 1996
  • Dependent Variable
    • Timing to divorce or separation of first marriage
  • Focal Independent Variable
    • Cohabitation experience w/ spouse
slide32
Data
  • Race/Ethnicity and Nativity Status
  • Number of premarital non-cohabiting sex partners
  • Time at Marriage
    • Children Prior Marriage
    • Education (Interview date)
    • Age at Marriage
  • Background Family Characteristics
    • Lived with biological parents
    • Mother’s education
premarital cohabitation engagement status premarital birth women 1996 marriage cohort
Premarital Cohabitation, Engagement Status & Premarital Birth( Women > 1996 Marriage Cohort)
discussion
Discussion

“It seems clear from the data that the impact of premarital cohabitation on a subsequent marriage is not a simple or direct relationship, but rather is multifaceted.”

- Newcomb and Bentler (1980, pg. 23)

slide43
Marriage Cohort

Earlier marriage cohort

Cohabitation is tied to greater instability regardless

of engagement status

Later marriage cohort

Cohabitation is NOT tied to heightened marital dissolution

Diffusion Perspective

slide44

Commitment at the start of cohabitation

    • Engagement/definite marriage plans

Half of adults who cohabited prior to a recent marriage made a commitment to marriage when they started living together

Engagement status depends on premarital fertility

      • No Births  No cohabitation effect
      • Births  Engaged protective effect
slide45
Subgroup differentials: “one size does not fit all”

Reframe:

Relationship experiences: ‘premarital divorce’

Variation among respondents who never cohabit

Challenge our understanding of cohabitation and marriage dissolution

Meaning of cohabitation and its role in marriage process

slide46

Thank you!Check out updates:National Center for Family and Marriage Researchhttp://ncfmr.bgsu.edu/Comments & Queries:wmannin@bgsu.edu