Serial cohabiters less likely than others to marry

November 06, 2008

Ithaca, N.Y. - November 5, 2008 - A new study in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that serial cohabiters are less likely than single-instance cohabiting unions to result in marriage. Similarly if serial cohabiters marry, divorce rates are very high.

Daniel T. Lichter of Cornell University and Zhenchao of Ohio State University used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to track the experiences of serial cohabiters, or women who have cohabited with more than one partner.

Serial cohabiters were less likely than couples who cohabited only once to end in marriage. If serial cohabiters did marry, divorce rates were very high - more than twice as high as for women who cohabited only with their eventual husbands.

Results indicate that only a minority of cohabiting women (15 to 20 percent) were involved in multiple cohabitations. Also, serial cohabitations were overrepresented among economically disadvantaged groups, especially those with low income and education.

"Understanding the myriad motivations of cohabiters may be more important than ever, especially if cyclical serial cohabiting couples with children have increased among recent cohorts as a percentage of all cohabitations," Lichter notes.
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This study is published in the November 2008 issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact journalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net.

Daniel T. Lichter is affiliated with Cornell University and can be reached for questions at dtl28@cornell.edu.

For more 70 years, Journal of Marriage and Family (JMF) has been a leading research journal in the family field. JMF features original research and theory, research interpretation and reviews, and critical discussion concerning all aspects of marriage, other forms of close relationships, and families.

Wiley-Blackwell was formed in February 2007 as a result of the acquisition of Blackwell Publishing Ltd. by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and its merger with Wiley's Scientific, Technical, and Medical business. Together, the companies have created a global publishing business with deep strength in every major academic and professional field. Wiley-Blackwell publishes approximately 1,400 scholarly peer-reviewed journals and an extensive collection of books with global appeal. For more information on Wiley-Blackwell, please visit www.wiley-blackwell.com or http://interscience.wiley.com.

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