Economic Factors and Relationship Quality among Young Couples: A Comparison of Cohabitation and Marriage

Amy Lucas, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Are economic stability and instability related to relationship quality among young couples, and to what extent does this vary by relationship type? To answer these questions, we estimate regression models predicting respondent reports of affection and conflict in cohabiting and married partner relationships using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1997 and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). We find that economic factors are an important predictor of affection and conflict for both married and cohabiting couples. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the relationship between economic factors and affection operates largely through its impact on the level of conflict in a relationship.

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Presented in Session 119: Cohabitation