Monday, March 26, 2018

Citations for Tests of the Inertia Hypothesis about the Timing of Cohabitation and Marital Outcomes

This post is to provide citations relevant for some of the work Galena Rhoades and I (and colleagues) have conducted on the subject of premarital cohabitation, specifically, the prediction of a timing effect related to when couples moved in together and marital outcomes. 

Before any of these studies were conducted, we predicted that couples who cohabited only after engagement (or marriage) would, on average, do better in marriage than those who began to cohabit prior to having such clear, mutual plans to marry. This is the inertia hypothesis. It is explained clearly in the citations under “theory” below.

This prediction has found support in every place where we know it possible to test, including findings in 7 studies using 6 different samples.

For a non-technical summary of this line of reasoning, click here.

For an annotated summary of our research on cohabitation, including abstracts and thinking from study to study, click here.
My goal here is to give easy access to relevant citations. Where possible, I give links that provide access to the entire article.

Theoretical Papers

Stanley, S. M., Rhoades, G. K., & Markman, H. J. (2006). Sliding vs. Deciding: Inertia and the premarital cohabitation effect. Family Relations, 55, 499-509.  [You can read the entire manuscript as a PDF, author version here.]

Stanley, S. M., Rhoades, G. K., & Whitton, S. W. (2010). Commitment: Functions, formation, and the securing of romantic attachment. Journal of Family Theory and Review, 2, 243-257.

Empirical Findings for the Engagement Effect

Kline, G. H., Stanley, S. M., Markman, H. J., Olmos-Gallo, P. A., St. Peters, M., Whitton, S. W., & Prado, L. (2004). Timing is everything: Pre-engagement cohabitation and increased risk for poor marital outcomes. Journal of Family Psychology, 18, 311-318.

Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., & Markman, H. J. (2009). The pre-engagement cohabitation effect: A replication and extension of previous findings. Journal of Family Psychology, 23, 107-111.

Stanley, S. M., Rhoades, G. K., Amato, P. R., Markman, H. J., & Johnson, C. A. (2010). The timing of cohabitation and engagement: Impact on first and second marriages. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72, 906-918.

Goodwin, P. Y., Mosher, W. D., & Chandra, A. (2010). Marriage and cohabitation in the United States: A statistical portrait based on Cycle 6(2002) of the National Survey of Family Growth. Vital Health Stat 23 (28). Washington D.C.: National Center for Health Statistics.

Manning, W. D., & Cohen, J. A. (2012). Premarital cohabitation and marital dissolution: An examination of recent marriages. Journal of Marriage and Family, 74, 377 - 387.

Rhoades, G. K., and Stanley, S. M. (2014). Before “I Do”: What do premarital experiences have to do with marital quality among today’s young adults? Charlottesville, VA: National Marriage Project.

Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., Markman, H. J., & Allen, E. S. (2015). Can marriage education mitigate the risks associated with premarital cohabitation? Journal of Family Psychology, 29(3), 500-506.