How Does Premarital Cohabitation Affect Trajectories of Marital Quality?
- ISSN: 00222445
- DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2009.00600.x
We investigate the link between premarital cohabitation and trajectories of subsequent mar- ital quality using random effects growth curve models and repeated measures of marital quality from married women in the NLSY-79 (N 3,598). We find that premarital cohabitors experience lower quality marital relationships on average, but this is driven by cohabitors with nonmarital births. Premarital cohabitors with- out nonmarital births report the same marital quality as women who did not cohabit before marriage. Nonmarital childbearing is more strongly associated with lower subsequent mari- tal quality for White women than for Black or Hispanic women. Marital quality declines at similar rates for all couples regardless of cohab- itation or nonmarital childbearing status. These findings are robust to numerous alternative model specifications.