Patriarchy, Power & Pay

“To make families stronger, reduce family instability, enable young people to form marital or cohabiting unions, and eliminate child poverty, we must figure out how to share the bounty of the machines” (Ruggles, 2015).

Divorce Research Update– 7-27-2015

New findings about predictors of divorce, marital quality, cohabitation, GLBT divorce and more.  The most recent issue of the Journal of Family Psychology Volume 29, Issue 3, (Jun) includes 5 articles that address important issues in our understanding of divorce.

A more complete list of research report about divorce, remarriage and stepfamilies published in 2015 or between 2010-2015.

Goldberg, A. E., & Garcia, R. (2015). Predictors of relationship dissolution in lesbian, gay, and heterosexual adoptive parents. Journal of Family Psychology,29(3), 394.

Goldberg, J. S., & Carlson, M. J. (2015). Patterns and Predictors of Coparenting After Unmarried Parents Part. Journal of Family Psychology,29(3), 416-426.

James, S. L. (2015). Variation in Marital Quality in a National Sample of Divorced Women. Journal of Family Psychology,29(3)

Bourassa, K. J., Sbarra, D. A., & Whisman, M. A. (2015). Women in Very Low Quality Marriages Gain Life Satisfaction Following Divorce. Journal of Family Psychology,29(3)

Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., Markman, H. J., & Allen, E. S. (2015). Can Marriage Education Mitigate the Risks Associated With Premarital Cohabitation? Journal of Family Psychology, 29(3), 500-506.


Divorce Science Update– 7-13-2015

Bill Doherty has been doing some interesting work to develop an informal network to engage friends and family of struggling couples to provide them with support.

This work, Marital First Responders, is worth exploring….



Marital History of U.S. Men from 1940-2012

Over time this figure shows the changes in marital history of men in different birth cohorts (a birth cohort is all the men born in a specific time period).  The men born in the years 1940-44 were ages 77-82 when this report was created.  The men born in the years 1975-79 were ages 32-37.  Keep this in mind when looking at these data.  The younger group (1975-79) is still likely to experience more changes in their marital history.

Nevertheless, you can still see some trends.  On average, about 2/3 of men are married at least once and this has remained constant over much of this period except this most recent period (those born 1975-79 who still have a chance of marriage).  A more difficult trend to determine in whether 2nd and 3rd time marriages are declining– the cohorts between 1950-1969 seem to suggest this trend.  The increase in the number of men never getting married is also apparent, but there is also a trend of marrying at older ages so some of the men born between 1970-1979 may still get married.  Marital History of Men By birth cohorts 2008-2012

Insurance-dependent Women Have Lower Divorce Rates– Good or Bad News?

In a just released study by Heeju Sohn at the University of Pennsylvania, she found that women who were dependent on their spouses for insurance coverage had lower rates of divorce.  This finding does not mean that these women are “protected” from divorce, but rather suggests that these women are likely to have fewer options and therefore may be remain in relationships for financial reasons.  These findings are a reminder that divorce decisions are not merely about marital satisfaction, but also about all aspects of family life.


Nice Graphic about Marriage & Divorce Statistics in US

GoFigure breaks down who's staying together and who's breaking up.


New Research Articles on Divorce–Jan & Feb., 2014

A complete list of the major articles published in 2014 with links to other articles.  Complete list of articles from 2010-2015. 

Divorce continues to be an important area of family and social science research.  Below are a few of the studies published in the early part of 2014 that provide insight into divorce issues.  Included in this summary are demographic, economic, causes of divorce, adjustment issues for adults and children, divorce education, marriage & relationship education, non-residential parenting and a new report on custody and shared parenting.

Demographic Issues

Bellido, H., & Marcén, M.Divorce laws and fertility. Labour Economics, (0) doi:

Kennedy, S., & Ruggles, S. (2014). Breaking up is hard to count: The rise of divorce in the united states, 1980-2010. Demography, , 1-12.

Kulu, H. (2014). Marriage duration and divorce: The seven-year itch or a lifelong itch? Demography, , 1-13.

Divorce & Economics– Especially the Recession

Baghestani, H., & Malcolm, M. (2014). Marriage, divorce and economic activity in the US: 1960-2008. Applied Economics Letters, , 528-532. doi:

Cohen, P. (2014). Recession and divorce in the united states, 2008-2011. Population Research and Policy Review, 1-14.

Causes of Divorce

Røsand, G. B., Slinning, K., Røysamb, E., & Tambs, K. (2014). Relationship dissatisfaction and other risk factors for future relationship dissolution: A population-based study of 18,523 couples. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 49(1), 109-119. doi:

Adult Adjustment to Divorce

Kulik, L., & Kasa, Y. (2014). Adjustment to divorce: A comparison of ethiopian immigrant and israeli-born men. Journal of Community Psychology, 42(2), 191-208.

Children’s Adjustment to Divorce

Mandemakers, J. J., & Kalmijn, M. (2014). Do mother’s and father’s education condition the impact of parental divorce on child well-being? Social Science Research, 44(0), 187-199. doi:

Non-residential & Shared Parenting Issues

Finzi-Dottan, R., & Cohen, O. (2014). Predictors of parental communication and cooperation among divorcing spouses. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 23(1), 39-51. doi:

Modecki, K. L., Hagan, M. J., Sandler, I., & Wolchik, S. A. (2014). Latent profiles of nonresidential father engagement six years after divorce predict long-term offspring outcomes. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, , 1-14.

Rodriguez, S. R. (2014). “We’ll only see parts of each other’s lives:” the role of mundane talk in maintaining nonresidential parent–child relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships,

Aging, Intergenerational Issues and Divorce

Cooney, T. M., Proulx, C. M., Snyder-Rivas, L., & Benson, J. J. (2014). Role ambiguity among women providing care for ex-husbands. Journal of Women & Aging, 26(1), 84-104.

Ganong, L., & Coleman, M. (2014). Responsibility inferences and intergenerational obligations to parents and stepparents: Are Step/Children less obligated when older adults are at fault for their problems? Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 55(1), 64-81. doi:10.1080/10502556.2013.862098

Stepfamily Issues

Doodson, L. J., & Davies, A. P. C. (2014). Different challenges, different well-being: A comparison of psychological well-being across stepmothers and biological mothers and across four categories of stepmothers. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 55(1), 49-63.

Marriage & Relationship Education

Cordova, J. V. (2014). Findings and future directions for marriage checkup research. Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association, Washington, DC. doi:

Cordova, J. V. (2014). The marriage checkup practitioner’s guide: Promoting lifelong relationship health. Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association, Washington, DC. doi:

Divorce Education

Stallman, H. M., & Sanders, M. R. (2014). A randomized controlled trial of family transitions triple P: A group-administered parenting program to minimize the adverse effects of parental divorce on children. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 55(1), 33-48.

Legal Issues and Divorce Services 

Pruett, M. K., & DiFonzo, J. H. (2014).  Closing the Gap: Research, Policy, Practice and Shared Parenting AFCC Think Tank Final Report to be published in Family Court Review

Research Methods for Divorce Research

Lamela, D., Figueiredo, B., Bastos, A., & Martins, H. (2014). Psychometric properties of the portuguese version of the posttraumatic growth inventory short form among divorced adults. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 30(1), 3-14. doi:

Other Summaries of divorce research for 2010,  2011, 2012, 2013 

Working With African American Individuals, Couples and Families: Expert Panel A Free Live Webcast

The National Resource Center for Healthy Marriage and Families is excited to invite you to participate in a free live Expert Panel webcast on Working with African American Individuals, Couples and Families. This moderated discussion will bring together nationally recognized experts and practitioners to address cultural competencies, discuss strategies to improve services, and highlight free resources to support you and your agency in your efforts to strengthen families.

Working With African American Individuals, Couples and Families: Expert Panel
Thursday, February 20, 2014
1:00pm – 2:30pm EST

To register for this free webcast, click here:
This webcast will:

  • Educate safety-net service providers and other stakeholders on ways to improve service delivery to African American clients and families;
  • Create a foundation for understanding perspectives, improving communication, and strengthening relationships with those in the African American community;
  • Discuss strategies for stakeholders working with African American couples and families to integrate healthy relationship education into existing services; and
  • Highlight and promote free resources and products that are available to stakeholders through the Resource Center.

Hosted by Robyn Cenizal, Director, National Resource Center for Healthy Marriage and Families, the event will feature:

  • Charisse Johnson, Administration for Children & Families, Office of Family Assistance
  • Rozario Slack, The Legacy Campaign
  • Tera Jordan, Iowa State University
  • Kenneth Braswell, National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse
  • Nisa Muhammad, Wedded Bliss

Following the facilitated dialogue, participants will have an opportunity to ask questions.

To register for this free webcast, click here:

The National Resource Center for Healthy Marriage and Families hosts regular free webinar opportunities for interested Federal, State, Tribal and local agency administrators and social service providers. Visit us at to learn more about the Resource Center, view past webinars, and find out about upcoming events.

NCFR Sessions on Coparenting & Divorce

Coparenting:  November 6, 2013 Time:   8:00 pm – 8:45 pm  Ballroom Corridor

Couples That Parent Together, Stay Together

Presented by: Kristy Soloski, Jared Durtschi

Using longitudinal dyadic data (N = 1,291 couples) from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, we tested if trajectories of coparenting and parental stress differed by those that did and did not dissolve their romantic relationships across the first five years of parenthood. Mothers and fathers that remained intact through the first five years of parenthood indicated higher initial levels of coparenting and greater increases in coparenting overtime. There were no significant differences when comparing the trajectories of parental stress between intact and dissolved relationships in the initial level or rate of change.

Fathers’ Boundary Negotiations in Post-divorce Coparenting Relationships

Presented by: Tyler Jamison, Ashton Chaman, Rachael Doubledee, Richard Feistman, Marilyn Coleman, Lawrence Ganong

Following divorce, parents must renegotiate co-parenting and establish new boundaries that delineate parental responsibilities. This grounded theory study explored 20 fathers’ boundary negotiations in post-divorce co-parenting relationships. Fathers solicited participation and cooperation from their ex-wives to maintain co-parenting relationships and to maximize contact with their children. Fathers were open to their ex-wives’ input about childrearing, and it changed their parenting behaviors. According to these fathers, mothers were not as open to their input and often engaged in restrictive gatekeeping (i.e., limiting access to children). Fathers’ attempts to push back against these closed boundaries yielded mixed results.

Changes in Coparenting Associated With Changes in Relationship Quality

Presented by: Jared Durtschi, Kristy Soloski

The transition to parenthood has been shown to be difficult for some couples. We used longitudinal dyadic data (N = 768 couples) from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to test if coparenting and parental stress covaried across time with the trajectories of expected relationship quality for mothers and fathers. Results from a dyadic growth curve model with time-varying covariates suggested that significant shifts in the expected trajectory of relationship quality from when the first child was one year to five years old were associated with reports of change in parents’ coparenting and parental stress scores across time.

Communication Among Parents Who Share Physical Custody After Divorce or Separation

Presented by: Melinda Stafford Markham, Yolanda Mitchell, Jaimee Hartenstein, Ghadir Aljayyousi-Khalil, Denise Thompson

This study produces a grounded theory of how 30 divorced or separated parents experienced communicating with their former partners while sharing physical custody of their children. It was determined that communication, custody arrangement, and relationship with the former partner all influence each other. Five other factors (child, new partner, family background, time, and breakup) influenced the custody arrangement, communication, and relationship. The findings of this study suggest that communication in shared physical custody relationships is dynamic, can vary greatly, and is related to a number of different factors.

Family System’s View of School Readiness: Effects of Parenting, Coparenting, and Intimacy

Presented by: Adam M. Galovan, Erin Kramer Holmes, Jean M. Ispa

Using family systems theory and dyadic multilevel structural equation modeling, we explore the ways in which partner and coparental relationships influence kindergarten school readiness beyond parental provision of felt security. We consider how parenting similarity and couple intimacy may moderate the effect of parenting on school readiness. Moderation analyses suggest that greater coparental similarity in sensitivity allowed for a stronger influence of emotional intimacy on children’s school readiness. Thus, when the relationships most proximal to the child (parent-child relationships) are consistent, the couple relationship seems to have a stronger influence on children’s development of social skills and academic competence.

A Measure of Maternal Gatekeeping

Presented by: Daniel Puhlman, Kay Pasley

Maternal gatekeeping is an important concept that describes how mothers influence the involvement of fathers on children.  A measure accurately depicting a three dimensional conceptualization of this construct has not been tested.  This study tests this three dimensional construct introduced by Puhlman and Pasley (in press) and establishes a valid and reliable measure for mothers and fathers.  The development of this measure allows scholars to further understand the role of maternal gatekeeping as a coparenting construct and its influence on father involvement.

Maternal Gatekeeping and Coparenting: Similar or Distinct?

Presented by: Lauren E. Altenburger, Sarah J. Schoppe-Sullivan, Claire M. Kamp Dush

The family system is an interdependent network of individuals and subsystems.  The coparenting subsystem emerges across the transition to parenthood and has been defined as the extent to which parents collaborate in childrearing.  Maternal gatekeeping, or mothers’ beliefs and behaviors that may thwart parents’ efforts to share childrearing more equally, also develops during this period.  Both constructs have been linked to father involvement and child development, though they have largely been studied independently.  The current study uses an expanded conceptualization of maternal gatekeeping to examine their relationship, and thus, provide information that can be used to refine measurement.

Should I Try and Work on My Marriage or Just Get Divorced?

This is a tough question that faces many couples during their marriage.  There are many issues to consider and it is not always easy to find helpful advice.  Alan Hawkins and his colleagues from Brigham Young University have written a very thoughtful guide to help couples think through this process.

They include helpful activities that either (or both) partners can do to get a realistic assessment of where they are.  Hawkins and colleagues also provide information about the effects of divorce on children and adults.

This is a valuable resource for couples.