- Jun 23, 2005
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
A new study suggests the age when couples start cohabiting – whether married or unmarried – correlates with divorce rates, adding new nuance to studies about cohabitation and marriage.[h=2]For years, social scientists have tried to explain why living together before marriage seemed to increase the likelihood of a couple divorcing. Now, new research released by the nonpartisanCouncil on Contemporary Families gives an answer:
it doesn’t. And it probably never has.
This is despite two decades of warnings from academics and social commentators who pointed to studies that claimed a correlation between “shacking up” and splitting up – warnings that increased as the number of couples living together before marriage skyrocketed.
As it turns out, those studies that linked premarital cohabitation and divorce were measuring the wrong variable, says Arielle Kuperburg, a professor at theUniversity of North Carolina, Greensboro, who produced much of the research released Monday. The biggest predictor of divorce, she says, is actually the age at which a couple begins living together, whether before the wedding vows or after.
“Up until now, we’ve had this mysterious finding that cohabitation causes divorce,” she says. “Nobody’s been able to explain it. And now we have – it was that people were measuring it the wrong way.”
Couples who begin living together without being married tend to be younger than those who move in after the wedding ceremony – that’s why cohabitation seemed to predict divorce, Professor Kuperburg explains. But once researchers control for that age variable, it turns out that premarital cohabitation by itself has little impact on a relationship’s longevity. Those who began living together, unmarried or married, before the age of 23 were the most likely to later split.
“Part of it is maturity, part of it is picking the right partner, part of it is that you’re really not set up in the world yet,” she says. “And age has to do with economics.”
Read more here:
Best predictor of divorce? Age when couples cohabit, study says. - CSMonitor.com[/h]I have said this for years. Looks like the latest science agrees.