Union formation in fragile families.

Page Count
Year Published
Author (Individual)
Carlson, Marcia.
McLanahan, Sara.
England, Paula.
Author (Organization)
Bendheim-Thoman Center for Research on Child Wellbeing.
Resource Type
Resource Format
This paper reports findings from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine union formation among unmarried parents who have just had a child together. Multinomial logistic regression was used to estimate the effects of economic, cultural/interpersonal, and other factors on whether parents are romantically involved living apart, cohabitating, married to each other, or not romantically involved one year after the child's birth. Net of other factors, women's education and men's earnings encourage marriage. Cultural and interpersonal factors also have strong effects. Women's trust of men, both parents' positive attitudes toward marriage, and both parents' assessment of the supportiveness in their relationship encourage marriage. Supportiveness also encourages cohabitation, while fathers' substance abuse and high levels of relationship conflict discourage cohabitation. Fathers' physical violence deters the continuation of romantic non-resident relationships. (Author abstract) Numerous references, 3 tables.

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