Cohabitation and Marital Dissolution: A Comment on Rosenfield and Roseler (2019)

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Arielle Kuperberg, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Objective: Our goal is to comment on a recently published paper (Rosenfeld & Roesler, 2019. Journal of Marriage and Family, 81, 42-58) and provide an alternative analysis of the association between premarital cohabitation and marital instability. Background: Their findings run counter to recently published papers on this topic. Although their article offers a potential explanation for this finding, the models include multiple and potentially confounding measures of time creating questions about their conclusions. Method: Our comment is based on approaches used in prior studies of cohabitation and marital instability using the same data source. Reviews of measures of time and data limitations are included along with new event history analyses focusing on marriage cohorts. Results: Their models arguably include too many indicators of time. Unlike the study by Rosenfeld and Roesler (2019) and consistent with other recent studies, we find that cohabitation has a weaker association with dissolution among recently married couples and cohabitation with a spouse prior to marriage is not associated with marital instability for recent marriage cohorts. This finding holds even when accounting for variation by marital duration. Conclusion: This comment provides insights into the use of the National Survey of Family Growth data ( nchs/ nsfg/ index.htm data) and measurement of time. Our results provide evidence that counters the conclusion by Rosenfeld and Roesler (2019) that scholars have been “misled” about the role of cohabitation and marital dissolution.

Additional Information

Journal of Marriage and Family, 83, 260-267
Language: English
Date: 2021
cohabitation, demography, dissolution, divorce, marriage

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