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.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/fam0000095

Goldberg, J. S., & Carlson, M. J. (2015). Patterns and Predictors of Coparenting After Unmarried Parents Part. Journal of Family Psychology,29(3), 416-426. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/fam0000078

James, S. L. (2015). Variation in Marital Quality in a National Sample of Divorced Women. Journal of Family Psychology,29(3) http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/fam0000082

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) http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/fam0000075

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. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/fam0000081

 

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

Diverging Pathways of Marriage by Women’s Education


Cohabitation by Amount of Education  1995-2010

 

The most striking recent findings in regards to patterns of marriage is the variations in cohabitation by the educational level of women.  This chart comparing women with less than a high school degree with those women who earn a Bachelor degree is telling.  In 1995 46% of women with less than a high school degree started a first union as cohabitation.  In 2010 that percentage is now 70%.  For women with a Bachelor’s degree, cohabitation is more common, but only 47% of these women are starting their first union as cohabitation.  The more education that women have, the less likely they are to begin their first union as cohabitation.  The complete report on cohabitation trends is available from the National Center for Health Statistics.   

What is happening to marriage in the US?


An easy way to get some insight into the state of marriage is to look at the trend in the time of first union (no union, cohabitation, or marriage) among women in the past 15 years.  The most telling part of this graph is the dramatic increase in the percentage of women beginning unions as cohabitation (34% in 1995 and up to 48% in 2010) and the decline in first unions that are marriages (39% in 1995 and only 23% in 2010).  The complete report on cohabitation was prepared by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Type of first union US women 1995-2010

What Are the Program and Policy Implications of Cohabitation?


The discussion on Family Scholars gave me a chance to think about how we support young people who are cobabitating.

What Are the Program and Policy Implications of Cohabitation?.

Children Living with Cohabitating Parents, Europe 2010


Rates of cohabitation vary widely in Europe.  In general, the northern countries have higher rates of cohabitation.  The chart below illustrates the percentage of children that are growing up in households with cohabitating parents.  (Note: The percentage of children living with cohabitating parents in the US is 2.9%.)
Percent of Children living wih co-habitating parents Europe 2010

For more data about European families go to OECD Statistics.

Cohabitation Rates Among European Young Adults


There is a wide range of rates of cohabitation among the European countries.  Below is a chart showing the rates of cohabitation for many of the European countries.  These percentages were based on a report by the OECD and represent the most current rates from each country, they are not from the same year.

Percentage of young people cohabitating  Europe