ERIC Number: EJ928351
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Apr
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 37
Class Differences in Cohabitation Processes
Sassler, Sharon; Miller, Amanda J.
Family Relations, v60 n2 p163-177 Apr 2011
Despite the burgeoning cohabitation literature, research has failed to examine social class variation in processes of forming and advancing such unions. Drawing upon in-depth interviews with 122 working- and middle-class cohabitors, we examine the duration between dating and moving in together, reasons for cohabiting, and subsequent plans. Transitions to cohabitation are more rapid among the working class. Respondents often cohabited for practical reasons--out of financial necessity, because it was convenient, or to meet a housing need. Regardless of social class status, few couples move in together as a "trial marriage." Nonetheless, middle-class cohabitors were more likely to have become engaged than their working-class counterparts. Our findings indicate the need to reassess common beliefs regarding the role served by cohabitation and suggest that cohabitation has become another location where family outcomes are diverging by social class.
Descriptors: Housing Needs, Working Class, Interpersonal Relationship, Social Class, Interviews, Dating (Social), Beliefs, Role, Family (Sociological Unit)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A