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    Using age at first union to explain the relationship between cohabitation and divorce.

    Cohen BA

    [Unpublished] 1991. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America, Washington, D.C., March 21-23, 1991. [25] p.

    Experience in the US and in other industrialized nations indicates that cohabitors are more likely to value individual freedom and nontraditional sex roles and are less likely to bear and raise children. These values and practices may lead to an increased risk of marital disruption. Incorporating an additional variable, the effect of age at 1st union on subsequent marital stability was examined based upon data from 13,017 male and female interviewees 19 years of age and older sampled in the 1987-88 National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH). The hypothesis tested predicts that higher rates of marriage dissolution are due to age at 1st union not age at marriage, differential attitudes, or other selection effects. Results show that differences between cohabitors and noncohabitors in the incidence of marriage dissolution are minimal when using age at 1st union. Cohabitors still display a higher percentage of divorces than noncohabitors. Members of the 25 and older cohorts of cohabitors have a lower percentage of divorces when controlling for union instead of total marital duration. For couples beginning their union prior to 1975, comment was made regarding an independent effect of cohabitation on marital dissolution due to changes in social norms and attitudes on cohabitation and divorce.
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