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Selection, Alignment, and Their Interplay: Origins of Lifestyle Homogamy in Couple Relationships

Authors

  • Oliver Arránz Becker,

    Corresponding author
    1. Chemnitz University of Technology
      Chemnitz University of Technology, Institute for Sociology, 09107 Chemnitz, Germany (oliver.arranz-becker@soziologie.tu-chemnitz.de; daniel.lois@soziologie.tu-chemnitz.de).
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  • Daniel Lois

    Corresponding author
    1. Chemnitz University of Technology
      Chemnitz University of Technology, Institute for Sociology, 09107 Chemnitz, Germany (oliver.arranz-becker@soziologie.tu-chemnitz.de; daniel.lois@soziologie.tu-chemnitz.de).
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  • This article was edited by Cheryl Buehler.

Chemnitz University of Technology, Institute for Sociology, 09107 Chemnitz, Germany (oliver.arranz-becker@soziologie.tu-chemnitz.de; daniel.lois@soziologie.tu-chemnitz.de).

Abstract

The present study examines different processes leading to lifestyle homogamy in married and cohabiting couples using data from the German Socioeconomic Panel (n = 3,490 couples). The analyses first suggest that alignment over time promotes homogamy of leisure-related lifestyles, especially with respect to action-oriented activities. However, intermediate stages in the life course (i.e., phases of active parenting and labor force participation) tend to inhibit alignment, whereas cues indicating a high-quality match (e.g., educational homogamy and being in a long-term or a marital relationship) promote alignment. Second, we find evidence for selection effects in that not only homogamy but also convergence of lifestyles over time may increase couples' resilience to relationship breakup.

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