Longitudinal Patterns of Marital Quality: The Case of Divorce, Cohabitation and Race-Ethnicity

Spencer L. James, Brigham Young University

This paper looks for evidence of differences in marital quality across major axes of familial and social stratification, including divorce status, cohabitation experience, and race-ethnicity. Previous work has often compared the overall or average level of marital quality between cohabitors and non-cohabitors, people whose marriages are headed for divorce and people whose marriages are stable for long periods of time, and members of varying race-ethnicities, but no work to my knowledge has examined differences in trajectories between these groups. The multigroup growth curves employed here make it possible to examine changes in marital quality over time in addition to measuring differences in levels of reported marital quality among cohabitors, divorc├ęs, and members of different racial-ethnic groups. The results move beyond traditional representations of divorc├ęs, cohabitors, and racial and ethnic minorities experiencing lower levels of marital quality than their continuously married, non-cohabiting, and White counterparts.

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Presented in Poster Session 8