Study shows premarital cohabitation not a predictor of divorce

Most people across the nation, including many here in Arizona, believe that living together with your significant other prior to marriage makes you more likely to get a divorce. The reason for this belief is because of studies that have been conducted over the years that have validated it. But a new study released by the Council on Contemporary Families is suggesting something very different.

According to a professor from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, there is actually little correlation between cohabitation and divorce. What really predicts the likelihood of divorce actually has more to do with a couple’s ages. She says the older studies’ conclusion about cohabitation and divorce had been measured using the wrong variable. By changing the variable, researchers were able to see what is really going on.

Based on what their research was show past researchers, it seemed that couples who lived together prior to marriage were more likely to get a divorce. But when researchers recently took into account the age of the couple, researchers were able to see that a couple living together prior to marriage, whose ages were 23 years or younger, had a higher chance of splitting later. Those who waited to live together until later in life or until after they were married often had a greater chance of staying together.

Although researchers often agree that maturity plays a major role in the success or failure of a relationship, some studies have pointed to other indicating factors such as a person’s exposure to divorce in their family or social circles. It’s possible too that societal norms around gender roles is also having an impact on how couples view equality in a relationship

Source: CNBC, “Best predictor of divorce? Age when couples cohabit, study says,” Stephanie Hanes, March 10, 2014

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