Archive for January, 2012

Female Serial Co-Habitation Ups the Odds of Divorce

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Female serial cohabitors – women who have cohabited with more than one man and who often have children of different fathers — have divorce rates roughly 40 percent higher than for women who never cohabited and twice as large as divorce rates for women who cohabited with their husbands only.

According to a study by the Brown University Population and Training Center — “Serial Cohabitation: Implications for Marriage, Divorce, and Public Policy” — most women do not cohabit and only 15 to 20 percent of those who cohabited were involved in multiple cohabitations. The large majority of cohabiting women only cohabit with their husbands.

However, serial cohabitors are overrepresented among economically disadvantaged groups, especially those on welfare. Higher-order or serial cohabitations also are less likely to end in marriage. Even when social, economic, and demographic variables were controlled in a model of divorce, serial cohabitation places women at much greater risk of marital dissolution.

“Playing house,” says lawyer Emily Doskow, may seem like good practice for married life, but it can make living together seem less permanent. “People feel like ‘If it doesn’t work out, we can just step out of this.” Statistics suggest that marriages proceeded by cohabitation enjoy a better chance of success when couples become engaged before moving it.

The Longevity Project: Parental Divorce Shortens Children’s Lives

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

In an eight-decade study, parental divorce in childhood was the strongest predictor of early death in adulthood.

The study of 1,500 Americans born nearly a century ago is an eight-decade research effort by Howard S. Friedman and Leslie R. Martin, two psychologists who continued the research begun in 1921 by Lewis Terman. This study followed children from the time they were 10 years old until death, decades later. According to one commentary on the study, “[t]he early death of a parent had no measurable effect on children’s life spans or mortality risk, but the long-term health effects of broken families were often devastating.

“Parental divorce during childhood emerged as the single strongest predictor of early death in adulthood. The grown children of divorced parents died almost five years earlier, on average, than children from intact families. The causes of death ranged from accidents and violence to cancer, heart attack and stroke. Parental break-ups remain, the authors say, among the most traumatic and harmful events for children.”

Overall, those who fared best in the longevity sweepstakes tended to be physically active, to give back to the community, to thrive in work and career, and to have a happy marriage and family life.