The Influence of Relationship Match, Investments and Satisfaction on Divorce Risks in Cohabiters and Married People
Aart Liefbroer, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI-KNAW)
Saskia te Riele, Statistics Netherlands
We tested this by following cohabiting and married people in the Dutch survey on Family Formation of 2008 for up to 7 years after the survey using registrative data. In a discrete time analysis, also controlling for relationship duration, age at the start of the relationship, birth cohort and selection (education, religion, divorce of parents), divorce risks of cohabiters, married people with and married people without prior cohabitation were compared. Also, the influence of (1) characteristics of the match (age difference and difference in educational level); (2) investments (children and co-owning a house); and (3) relationship satisfaction were tested.
Results show that unmarried cohabiters have higher dissolution risks than married people and that there is no difference between married people with and without prior cohabitation. Investments and relationship satisfaction were important predictors of divorce, both for cohabiters and married people. However, this did not explain the differences found. This implies that even committed and happy cohabiters have less stable relationships than married people. Moving on to marriage may be a sign of more commitment in itself, but cohabiters or cohabiting relationships may also have other characteristics increasing the risk of divorce.
Presented in Session 37: Union Dissolution