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So happy together… Examining the association between relationship happiness, socio-economic status, and family transitions in the UK

Perelli-Harris, B. & Blom, N. ORCID: 0000-0003-0742-4554 (2021). So happy together… Examining the association between relationship happiness, socio-economic status, and family transitions in the UK. Population Studies, doi: 10.1080/00324728.2021.1984549

Abstract

The increases in cohabitation and in childbearing within cohabitation raise questions about who marries. Most studies have found that childbearing within cohabitation is associated with disadvantage; here, we examine the role of relationship happiness and whether it helps to explain this association. Using the UK Household Longitudinal Study (2009–17), our competing risk hazard models follow respondents as they transition: (1) from cohabitation into marriage or childbearing; and (2) from marriage or cohabitation into childbearing. We find that marriage risks are highest among individuals who are happiest with their relationship. On average, the association between relationship quality and childbearing operates through marriage: the happiest individuals marry, and those who marry have children. While higher socio-economic status is weakly associated with marriage, conception, and separation, the associations do not differ by relationship happiness. The findings indicate that overall, relationship happiness appears to be most salient for transitions into marriage.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher Keywords: cohabitation, marriage, child bearing, separation, relationship quality, happiness, United Kingdom, socio-economic status
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Departments: City, University of London (-2022) > School of Arts & Social Sciences
School of Arts & Social Sciences
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