Why does Cohabitation lead to Marital Dissolution?


Arielle Kuperberg from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro published an interesting study exploring the factors that may explain why cohabitation may or may not lead to divorce.  She suggests that age may be a very important factor.  The central idea is that while cohabitating may not seem like “marrying at an early age,” it functions like it when looking at divorce.  In short, Kuperberg seems to be suggesting that the divorce rate among these couples is not so much because they “cohabitated” as because they formed an early “union.”  She writes in her conclusion, “This research also suggests that young couples wishing to avoid divorce would be better served by delaying settling down and forming coresidential unions until their mid-20s when they are older and more established in their lives, goals, and careers, whether married or not at the time of coresidence, rather than avoiding premarital cohabitation altogether.”

Kuperberg, A. (2014). Age at coresidence, premarital cohabitation, and marriage dissolution: 1985-2009. Journal of Marriage and Family, 76(2), 352-369. doi:10.1111/jomf.12092

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