Marital separations an alternative to divorce for poor couples
(Medical Xpress) -- Married couples who undergo long-term separations generally appear to be those who can't afford to divorce, a new nationwide study suggests.
Researchers found that about 80 percent of all respondents who went through a marital separation ultimately divorced, most within three years.
About five percent attempted to reconcile. But, 15 percent of separations didn't lead to divorce or reconciliation within 10 years. Couples in these long-term separations tended to be racial and ethnic minorities, have low family income and education, and have young children.
"Long-term separation seems to be the low-cost, do-it-yourself alternative to divorce for many disadvantaged couples," said Dmitry Tumin, co-author of the study and a doctoral student in sociology at Ohio State University. "Separation may not be their first choice, but they may feel it is their best choice."
Tumin conducted the study with Zhenchao Qian, a professor of sociology at Ohio State. They will present their results at the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.
The study involved 7,272 people from across the country who participated in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79), and who were married at some point. The NLSY79 is a nationally representative sample of men and women aged 14 to 22 in 1979. The same people were surveyed every year up to 1994 and every other year since then. The Tumin/Qian study followed the respondents through 2008.
The NLSY79 is conducted by Ohio State's Center for Human Resource Research for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The results of this study showed that 49 percent of participants left their first marriage during the course of the NLSY79 interviews, with 60 percent of that group having gone through a marital separation. About 80 percent of these separations ended in divorce.
The average length of a first separation was three years for those who ended up divorcing, nine years for respondents who were still separated as of the most recent interview, and two years for those who reunited with their spouse.
Reconciliation after separation is often unsuccessful, the study found -- half of the respondents that reconciled were no longer married as of 2008.
People who divorced immediately were similar to people who separated first before divorcing, but people who separated and did not divorce had very different profiles, the researchers found.
Almost 75 percent of those who remained separated, or who separated and then reunited, were black or Hispanic. Those who remained separated were more likely than those who divorced to have a high school or lower education.
"In every measure we had, including family background, income and education, those who remain separated are more disadvantaged than those who end up divorcing," Qian said.
Compared to people who divorced, those who separated without divorcing also tended to have more children, the study found.
"Those with young children may find it difficult to support themselves and their children if they divorce. Divorce may not protect them because their spouse may be unwilling or unable to provide financial support," Qian said.
One surprising finding was that study participants' religious background was not associated with whether they chose separation or divorce, or whether they reunited after a separation.
"We thought that people with certain religious backgrounds that discourage divorce, like Catholicism, might be more likely to separate rather than divorce, but we did not find that after other factors are taken into account," Tumin said.
When the results of this study are compared to previous research, some trends emerge, Tumin said.
The number of people who choose separation seems to be declining, but the time spent in separation seems to be increasing.
Both of these trends may be explained by the increasing availability of "no-fault" divorces for the generation of young adults in this study.
No-fault divorces reduced or eliminated separation as a prerequisite for divorce. That means people who have long-term separations now may not have the financial or social resources to divorce, according to Qian.
"Tough economic times are likely to make these trends continue," Qian said.
"Long-term separation may continue to be the norm for the disadvantaged unless they can see a better alternative, both in terms of spousal availabilities and economic independence."
Provided by American Sociological Association
- Large weight gains most likely for men after divorce, women after marriage Aug 22, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Divorce reduces chance of new, successful relationship Sep 07, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Divorce hurts health more at earlier ages Jan 30, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- After Divorce, Stable Families Help Minimize Long-Term Harm To Children May 07, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Researcher Helps People See Beyond the 'Typical' Divorce Dec 09, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
19 hours ago From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
Marie Curie's leukemia
May 13, 2013 Does anyone know what might be the cause of Marie Curie's cancer
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
The latest makeover to a massive psychiatric tome honored by some, reviled by others and even called the "Bible" of mental disorders is being released Saturday with a host of new changes.
Psychology & Psychiatry 10 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(HealthDay)—Most Medicare beneficiaries treated in inpatient psychiatric facilities (IPFs) exhibit characteristics associated with hospital readmission, according to a report prepared for the National Association ...
Psychology & Psychiatry May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
Skydivers show the same level of physical stress before every jump whether a first-timer or experienced jumper, say Northumbria researchers.
Psychology & Psychiatry May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
Children of depressed parents pick up on their parents' sadness—whether mom or dad realizes their mood or not.
Psychology & Psychiatry May 17, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (2) | 1 |
(HealthDay)—As many as one in five American children under the age of 17 has a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year, according to a new federal report.
Psychology & Psychiatry May 16, 2013 | 2.2 / 5 (5) | 1 |
An increasing number of U.S. children are experiencing gastrointestinal issues that require interventions to resolve, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW).
12 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
A new case of the deadly coronavirus has been detected in Saudi Arabia where 15 people have already died after contracting it, the health ministry announced on Saturday on its Internet website.
10 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Big names in medicine are set to give an upbeat assessment of the war on AIDS on Tuesday, 30 years after French researchers identified the virus that causes the disease.
21 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
For combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, 'fear circuitry' in the brain never rests
Chronic trauma can inflict lasting damage to brain regions associated with fear and anxiety. Previous imaging studies of people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, have shown that these brain regions can over-or ...
22 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
A ground-breaking advance in colonoscopy technology signals the future of colorectal care, according to research presented today at Digestive Disease Week(DDW). Additional research focuses on optimizing the minimal withdrawal ...
12 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0