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A "Cohabitation Effect"? Cohabitation, Parental Divorce, and Marital Success
Hunt, Jennifer Marie

2009, Master of Science, Ohio State University, Human Development and Family Science.
This thesis sets out to expand the literature on the “cohabitation effect”; that is, the idea that couples who cohabit before marriage have greater marital instability than couples who do not live together before marriage. I test two competing hypotheses. First, the selection/cumulative risk perspective arguing that cohabiters already possess numerous risk factors associated with poor relationship outcomes, so the addition of exposure to parental divorce makes these specific cohabiters even worse off. Following this hypothesis, I predict the children of divorce who cohabit will have lower levels of marital quality and a greater risk of divorce as compared to the children of intact families who cohabit. Also, all respondents who cohabit will have lower levels of marital quality and a greater risk of divorce as compared with the children of intact families who do not cohabit. The second hypothesis favors the differential experience of cohabitation perspective. This assumes that children of divorce want to prevent what they went through while experiencing their own parents’ divorce, so they may use cohabitation as way to “weed out” a bad relationship before marriage. So I hypothesize that children of divorce who cohabit will have higher levels of marital quality and a lower risk of divorce as compared to the children of intact families who cohabit. Also, the children of divorce who do not cohabit will have lower levels of marital quality and a high risk of divorce as compared to the children of intact families who do not cohabit. Overall, the results supported the selection/cumulative risk perspective. I found that, regardless of parental divorce, premarital cohabitation, or the other controls, the number of risks for divorce an individual possessed was strongly, and significantly associated with poorer marital outcomes, even stronger than the impact of parental divorce and premarital cohabitation in every instance. In one model I did find support for the differential experience of cohabitation perspective. The experience of a parental divorce led to less reported marital happiness in both cohabiters and non-cohabiters. Yet when an individual experienced a cohabiting relationship and a parental divorce, reported marital happiness increased, even after taking into account the risk score.
Claire Kamp Dush, PhD (Advisor)
Anastasia Snyder, PhD (Committee Member)
44 p.

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Hunt, J. (2009). A "Cohabitation Effect"? Cohabitation, Parental Divorce, and Marital Success. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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Hunt, Jennifer. "A "Cohabitation Effect"? Cohabitation, Parental Divorce, and Marital Success." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2009. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 03 Aug 2015.

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Hunt, Jennifer "A "Cohabitation Effect"? Cohabitation, Parental Divorce, and Marital Success." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2009. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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