تنوع در خط سیر کیفیت زناشویی زنان
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|35519||2015||15 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||11410 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Social Science Research, Volume 49, January 2015, Pages 16–30
I examine variation in trajectories of women’s marital quality across the life course. The analysis improves upon earlier research in three ways: (1) the analysis uses a sequential cohort design and data from the first 35 years of marriage; (2) I analyze rich data from a national sample; (3) I examine multiple dimensions of marital quality. Latent class growth analyses estimated on data from women in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth-1979 (N = 2604) suggest multiple trajectories for each of three dimensions of marital quality, including two trajectories of marital happiness, two trajectories of marital communication, and three trajectories of marital conflict. Socioeconomic and demographic covariates are then used to illustrate how factors such as income, cohabitation, and race-ethnicity set individuals at risk of poor marital quality throughout the life course by differentiating between high and low trajectories of marital quality. Women on low marital quality trajectories are, as expected, at much greater risk of divorce. Taken together, these findings show how fundamental socioeconomic and demographic characteristics contribute to subsequent marital outcomes via their influence on trajectories of marital quality as well as providing a better picture of the complexity in contemporary patterns of marital quality.
Despite societal notions that marriage and family are historically static institutions, research shows that the American family has undergone a tremendous amount of change. In fact, in the past 60 years, we have witnessed dramatic shifts in cohabitation, nonmarital fertility, and relationship dissolution (Cherlin, 2009). Individuals are delaying marriage and childbearing; women, particularly married women, have entered the labor force; and more people are raising children without a romantic, stable partner. One result of the increasing diversity of family experiences in the contemporary United States is greater attention to the implications of marriage for personal well-being, as well as a desire for greater clarification regarding both the causes and consequences of high quality marriages (Cherlin, 2009). A significant amount of research has examined how marital quality changes as marriages mature (Amato et al., 2007) as researchers have examined the ebbs and flows of long-term, romantic relationships. However, researchers often assume that most people experience a single, average trajectory of marital quality and this assumption has led to two theories of how marital quality changes over time—the U-shaped curve and continual decline perspectives (Glenn, 1998). As a result, virtually everything we know about how marital quality changes over time is based on the notion that most marriages change in similar ways (Anderson et al., 2010). Therefore, this paper focuses on whether this notion of similarity is true or whether some people follow markedly different trajectories of marital quality. If there are multiple trajectories of marital quality, we may need to rethink our conceptualization of marital quality across the life course, as this would constitute a misunderstanding of marriage, a fundamental social institution. This is not to say that the possibility of multiple trajectories of marital quality has not been examined before. It has (Anderson et al., 2010, Birditt et al., 2012, Kamp Dush and Taylor, 2012, Kamp Dush et al., 2008 and Lavner and Bradbury, 2010). But the number of studies is small and limited by important methodological and theoretical shortcomings detailed in Section 4. This article enhances our understanding of variation in trajectories of marital quality by overcoming these methodological and theoretical shortcomings as no article to date has been able to address the shortcomings in the same paper (i.e., track a national sample of marriages from the beginning of the marriage for 35 years to examine multiple dimensions of marital quality), making this the most extensive examination to date of variation in trajectories of marital quality. This paper has several goals. The first is to examine whether a single trajectory representing the average relationship between marital quality and marital duration adequately captures people’s marital experiences or whether it obscures distinct subgroups (i.e., variation) following qualitatively different trajectories. The second goal is to demonstrate the key role socioeconomic and demographic characteristics (e.g., income, premarital cohabitation, and race-ethnicity) play in sorting people into these varying trajectories, with individuals from traditionally disadvantaged groups faring poorly. The third goal is to examine whether membership in a specific marital quality trajectory influences the likelihood of subsequent divorce. To achieve these goals, I used latent class growth analyses to establish trajectories of marital happiness, communication, and conflict and then examine if socioeconomic and demographic characteristics served as risk factors for poor marital quality trajectories over the life course. Finally, I examined the link between being in a given marital quality trajectory and the likelihood of divorce.