Beliefs About Premarital Cohabitation: Do Individuals Believe Living Together Helps Divorce-Proof Marriage?

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Although research suggests that cohabiting prior to marriage does not result in a reduced risk of divorce or an improved chance of marital quality, prior research has indicated that this has been a prevalent view, particularly among emerging adults. Using an online survey, the authors sought to determine whether or not this view was still prevalent and how that might impact decisions about romantic relationships. Final sample included 139 adults with ages ranging from 19 to 64 years and a mean of 30.7 years. The relationship between cohabitation beliefs and several variables were examined using independent-samples t tests and chi-squares (with Yates correction). Results indicated that younger participants were more likely to endorse the belief that cohabitation prevents divorce and cohabitation was a good trial run for marriage while older adults were less likely to endorse these beliefs. These findings have implications for couples therapists and family educators in that they suggest that younger adults, in particular, may be making relationship decisions, such as whether or not to cohabit, based on beliefs unsupported by the literature.



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