Trajectories of Couple Relationship Quality after Childbirth: Does Marriage Matter?
AbstractMarital quality typically declines after the birth of a (first) child, as parenthood brings new identities and responsibilities for mothers and fathers. Yet, it is less clear whether nonmarital, cohabiting relationship quality follows a similar trajectory. This paper uses data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N=2,108) with latent growth curve models to examine relationship quality for co-resident couples over nine years after a child’s birth. Findings suggest that marriage at birth is protective for couple relationship quality, net of various individual characteristics associated with marriage, compared to all cohabiting couples at birth; however, marriage does not differentiate relationship quality compared to the subset of stably-cohabiting couples. Also, cohabiting couples who get married after the birth have better relationship quality compared to all cohabitors who do not marry though again, not compared to stably-cohabiting couples.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing. in its series Working Papers with number 1481.
Date of creation: Sep 2013
Date of revision:
Marriage; children; parenthood; cohabiting; quality;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
- J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
- D19 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Other
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