Serial Cohabitation and Depressive Symptoms in Emerging Adulthood

Sara Sandberg-Thoma, Ohio State University
Claire M. Kamp Dush, Ohio State University

The prevalence of serial cohabitation has increased within the United States; additionally, the rates of serial cohabitation, or cohabiting with more than one partner, have also risen. However, serial cohabitation may have adverse emotional health consequences. In general, cohabitation has been associated with mental health declines, yet serial cohabitation may be driving this effect. Using a contemporary sample of emerging adults, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97; n = 7,528), we examine the influence of serial cohabitation on depressive symptoms. Pooled fixed effects regressions indicated that serial cohabitation is associated with decreased depressive symptoms. Furthermore, the cumulative number of serial cohabitations did moderate the association between experiencing a specific cohabitation transition (from no reported cohabiting unions to one cohabitation, and from one cohabitation to two cohabitations)and depressive symptoms; future cohabitations did magnify the association between each single cohabitation transition and depressive symptoms.

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Presented in Poster Session 5