Relationship Quality in Marital and Cohabiting Unions Across Europe

Authors


  • Department of Sociology, Erasmus University Rotterdam, P.O. Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

  • Research Department, Statistics Norway, P.O. Box 8131, Department NO-0033, Oslo, Norway.

  • This article was edited by Cheryl Buehler.

Research Department, Statistics Norway, P.O. Box 8131, Department NO-0033, Oslo, Norway (kaw@ssb.no).

Abstract

In this study, the authors used data from the first wave of the Generations and Gender Survey to investigate relationship quality among currently married and cohabiting individuals ages 18 to 55 (N = 41,760) in 8 European countries (Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary, Norway, Romania, Russia, and The Netherlands). They expected to find fewer differences between cohabitation and marriage in countries where cohabitation is widespread. Controlling for a range of selection characteristics of respondents and their partners (e.g., common children, union duration, and education), the analyses showed that in all countries cohabiters more often had breakup plans and were less satisfied with their relationships than individuals who married. This cohabitation gap in relationship quality was largest in Russia, Romania, and Germany, which indeed were among the countries in the current sample where cohabitation was least prevalent.

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