The Timing of Cohabitation and Engagement: Impact on First and Second Marriages

Authors


  • *

    Department of Psychology, Frontier Hall, University of Denver, CO, 80208 (grhoades@du.edu).

  • **

    Department of Sociology and Crime, Law and Justice, 215 Oswald Tower, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, 16802-6207 (pamato@la.psu.edu).

  • ***

    Department of Psychology, Frontier Hall, University of Denver, CO, 80208 (hmarkman@du.edu).

  • Oklahoma State University, 139 HES, Stillwater, OK, 74078-6113 (christine.johnson@okstate.edu).

  • This article was edited by Jay Teachman.

Department of Psychology, Frontier Hall, University of Denver, CO, 80208 (sstanley@du.edu).

Abstract

Using a multistate sample of marriages that took place in the 1990s, this study examined associations between premarital cohabitation history and marital quality in first (N = 437) and second marriages (N = 200) and marital instability in first marriages (intact N = 521, divorced N = 124). For first marriages, cohabiting with the spouse without first being engaged or married was associated with more negative interaction, higher self-reported divorce proneness, and a greater probability of divorce compared to cohabiting after engagement or marriage (with patterns in the same direction for marital positivity). In contrast, there was a general risk associated with premarital cohabitation for second marriages on self-reported indices of marital quality, with or without engagement when cohabitation began.

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