Factors Promoting Higher Divorce Rates

724 Words Dec 2nd, 2013 3 Pages
Demographic and Economic Predictors of Divorce

Building on research conducted in prior decades, family scholars have continued to document the major risk factors for divorce. These factors include marrying as a teenager, being poor, experiencing unemployment, having a low level of education, living with one's future spouse or another partner prior to marriage, having a premarital birth, bringing children from a previous union into a new marriage (especially among mothers), marrying someone of a different race, being in a second- or higher order marriage, and growing up in a household without two continuously married parents (Amato & DeBoer, 2001; Bramlett & Mosher, 2002; Bratter & King, 2008; Sweeney & Phillips, 2004; Teachman, 2002).
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These constraints lead some cohabiting couples to marry, even though they would not have married under other circumstances. On the basis of this framework, Stanley, Rhoades, et al. (2006) argued that couples who are engaged prior to cohabitation, compared with those who are not, should report fewer problems and greater relationship stability following marriage, given that they already have made a major commitment to their partners. Several studies have provided evidence consistent with this hypothesis (Brown, 2004; Rhoades, Stanley, & Markman, 2009).

An earlier generation of scholars assumed that wives' employment and income are risk factors for divorce. More recent evidence, however, is mixed about the strength and even the direction of this association (Rogers, 2004; Sayer & Bianchi, 2000; Schoen, Rogers, & Amato, 2006). On the basis of research from the last decade, several conclusions seem likely. First, wives' employment has the potential to generate tension between spouses over the household division of labor. Frisco and Williams (2003) found that perceived unfairness in the division of household labor was associated with decreased marital happiness among spouses and an increased likelihood of divorce. Similarly, Amato, Booth, Johnson, and Rogers (2007) found that wives' hours of employment tended to increase spouses' perceptions of marital problems. The authors also found, however, that wives' earned income improved other dimensions of marital quality