The Effect of Cohabitation on Marital Dissolution

The number of couples who cohabitate before marriage has drastically risen in the past forty years and it continues to rise. This review of literature focuses on the effect that cohabitation has on marital dissolution. Twenty-eight articles on the topic of cohabitation and marital dissolution, published between 1980 and 2008, are examined. Countries studied include the United States, Canada, Australia, as well as a number of European countries. Overall, the studies found a positive correlation between couples who cohabitate before marriage and subsequent marital dissolution. Throughout the research, the selectivity theory was more heavily supported than the causation theory. It must be noted that when looking at the more recent studies, there is generally a negative correlation between cohabitation and marital dissolution when distinct, important factors are accounted for.

Katie Mohr
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