"Playing House": Financial Integration and Relationship Transitions among Current Cohabitors

Fenaba Addo, University of Wisconsin-Madison

This study examines whether financial attributes of shared living are associated with transitions to marriage or dissolution among current cohabitors. Using a sample of cohabitors interviewed during the two most recent waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1979 Child and Young Adult study (N=712), the analysis focused on varying degrees of financial integration as proxies for relationship constraint commitments (Stanley & Markman 1992). Preliminary results indicated cohabitors engaged in progressive practices, such as having joint credit cards with their partner, have an increased probability of union dissolution, whereas respondents who practiced investment strategies, e.g. sharing a mortgage, were more likely to marry. This study sheds light on the heterogeneous ways that a recent cohort of young couples manage their finances and navigate relationships.

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Presented in Session 115: Non-Marital and Diverse Family Forms