Kevin Lewis

June 09, 2018

Crossing Boundaries: “Some College,” Schools, and Educational Assortative Mating
David McClendon
Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

As more Americans delay marriage and meet partners online, schools may be less important for educational assortative mating. At the same time, social ties formed during college may continue to shape partner choice later in adulthood. This study focuses on young adults with “some college, no degree” to see what, if any, marriage‐market benefit is gained from exposure to highly educated social networks in college. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1997, including newly collected postsecondary transcripts, the author finds young adults with “some college” are more likely than their less‐educated peers to marry a college graduate, especially if they attended a 4‐year school, but young adults with bachelor's degrees still hold an advantage, even after controlling for duration of schooling. The results support the role of schools in shaping opportunities to meet partners but highlight the value of college degrees on the marriage market.

Rejecting Unwanted Romantic Advances Is More Difficult Than Suitors Realize
Vanessa Bohns & Lauren DeVincent
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

In two preregistered studies, we find that initiators of unrequited romantic advances fail to appreciate the difficult position their targets occupy, both in terms of how uncomfortable it is for targets to reject an advance and how targets’ behavior is affected, professionally and otherwise, because of this discomfort. We find the same pattern of results in a survey of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduate students (N = 942) who recalled actual instances of unwanted or unrequited romantic pursuit (Study 1) and in an experiment in which participants (N = 385) were randomly assigned to the roles of “target” or “suitor” when reading a vignette involving an unwanted romantic advance made by a coworker (Study 2). Notably, women in our Study 1 sample of STEM graduate students were more than twice as likely to report having been in the position of target as men; thus, our findings have potential implications for the retention of women in STEM.

What Explains the Decline in First Marriage in the United States? Evidence from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, 1969 to 2013
Daniel Schneider, Kristen Harknett & Matthew Stimpson
Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

Rates of entry into first marriage have declined sharply in the United States during the past half century, and there is evidence of broad gaps in marriage entry by race and education. Although a large literature explores the influences on marriage for single cohorts, there is little research that tests explanations for this decline across multiple cohorts. The authors use individual and contextual measures of employment and incarceration to predict transitions to first marriage in the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (1969–2013). They test two prominent theories of why marriage rates have declined: the decreased availability of “marriageable” men and the increased economic standing of women. They find that men's reduced economic prospects and increased risk of incarceration contributed to the decline in first marriage rates during the past 45 years in the United States, although these basic measures of economic and carceral conditions cannot explain the entire decline.

Do the Health Benefits of Marriage Depend on the Likelihood of Marriage?
Dmitry Tumin & Hui Zheng
Journal of Marriage and Family, June 2018, Pages 622-636

Marriage promotion initiatives presume substantial health benefits of marriage. Current literature, however, has provided inconsistent results on whether these benefits would be shared by people unlikely to marry. We investigate whether the physical and mental health benefits of marriage depend on the likelihood of marriage. Whereas prior studies have compared health benefits of marriage across a single predictor of marriage chances, we define the likelihood of marriage as a composite of demographic, economic, and health characteristics. Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, we find that married adults are only modestly healthier than unmarried adults in both physical and mental dimensions. People with a higher likelihood of marriage generally do not reap greater health benefits from marriage than their counterparts. The only exception is that continuous marriage is more strongly associated with improved mental health among men who are more likely to be married.

After the end: Linguistic predictors of psychological distress 4 years after marital separation
Kyle Bourassa, Karen Hasselmo & David Sbarra
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, forthcoming

Divorce is a stressful life event that is associated with increased risk for poor mental and physical health. A key goal for research in this area is to understand individual differences in who fares well or poorly over time, and whether behavioral markers of risk immediately after a separation predict longer term adjustment. This article investigates psychological distress in a sample of separated adults (N = 134, 84 of whom completed all follow-up assessments) who participated in an initial study and a follow-up assessment approximately 4.5 years later. Using multiple regression we examined whether two linguistic behaviors — the use of words from categories such as first-person pronouns and present tense words (verbal immediacy) and first-person plural pronouns (we-talk; e.g., “we” or “our”) — predicted self-reported psychological distress at follow-up. Increased use of first-person plural pronouns predicted greater psychological distress 4.5 years after marital separation. Additional analyses revealed that this effect was driven largely by differences in self-concept disturbance over time. The extent to which people use first-person plural pronouns following marital separation predicts increased risk for psychological distress years later, and this behavioral indicator may identify people who are at greater risk for poor adjustment over time.

Serial Cohabitation in Young Adulthood: Baby Boomers to Millennials
Kasey Eickmeyer & Wendy Manning
Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

Age at first marriage in the United States has consistently increased while age at cohabitation has stalled. These trends present an opportunity for serial cohabitation (multiple cohabiting unions). The authors argue that serial cohabitation must be measured among those at risk, who have ended their first cohabiting union. Drawing on data from the National Survey of Family Growth Cycle 6 (2002) and continuous (2006–2013) interview cycles, the authors find that serial cohabitation is increasing among women at risk. Millennials, born 1980 to 1984, had 50% higher rates of cohabiting twice or more after dissolving their first cohabitation. This increase is not driven by the composition of Millennials at risk for serial cohabitation. This work demonstrates the importance of clearly defining who is at risk for serial cohabitation when reporting estimates as well as continuing to examine how the associations between sociodemographic characteristics and serial cohabitation may shift over time. 

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