Four models of the way in which premarital cohabitation may affect marital quality are examined using interview data from a national probability sample of married persons. The idea that cohabitation improves mate selection and marital training is rejected. Cohabitation is negatively related to marital interaction and positively related to marital disagreement, proneness to divorce, and the probability of divorce in nonminority populations. No evidence is found that the accelerated marriage model explains these findings. Some support is found for the explanation that some of those who cohabit are poor marriage risks before they marry. No support is found for the idea that cohabitation itself causes a decline in marital quality, but this argument cannot be rejected with confidence, given the data at hand.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)