Analysis of the Relationship between Marriage and Cohabitation To Psychological Well being

Document Type:Thesis

Subject Area:Sociology

Document 1

Various alternatives to the traditional marriages such as cohabitation and same-sex marriages have raised outcries among the proponents of traditional marriages. Further studies have gone in to find out what effect traditional marriages and cohabitation lifestyles have on the psychological well-being of the family members. Some have argued the age of the partners and the quality of the marriage should be taken into account during this analysis. This paper will seek to provide evidence from research of a better psychological well-being in marriages compared to cohabitation relationships. This effect led the George W. Marriage has been a long standing institution in all societies since the beginning of time. It has taken different shapes and forms over time but has not lost its importance in society.

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This universal establishment has had many functions over time such as reproduction and companionship. Earlier in its introduction, cohabitation served as a precursor to marriage rather than a replacement. Research shows that cohabiting couples are much more alike to singles in terms of psychological health, physical health, wealth and income and emotional well-being (Luscombe, 2014). Cherlin (2014) argues that the new trends can be attributed to a growth of individualism and self-satisfaction in relationships. The increase of women in the labor force has also led to the shifting trends with women viewing cohabitation as equality. The shift of focus from marriage to cohabitation can also be attributed to change of the role of marriage from that of a sexual partnership and procreation to one led by emotional satisfaction by the individuals in the union.

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The once radical and avant garde construct is replacing marriage because people are no longer identifying with the self-sacrificial concept of marriage and are moving towards a more independent mutually benefiting concept. Other emerging trends include children born out of wedlock, lifetime singlehood and one parent households (Treas et al. According to various previous studies that looked at depression, married men have been reported to have better mental health than their unmarried counterparts (both single and cohabiting ones). More reports have indicated that married men report less alcoholism and obesity rates when compared to single men (Pollard & Harris, 2013). Even though there’s limited research on cohabiting individuals, evidence still points to higher rates of depression especially among women as compared to married women.

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When the study zeroed in on age as a control factor, they found out that young married women were less likely to abuse alcohol and drugs and more likely to get physical checks than cohabiting ones (Pollard & Harris, 2013). Although married men did report better results than married women using the same health indicators. High economic resources have been listed by the study as a major factor within traditional households that promotes effective parenting. Marital unions have laid down socially accepted structures with values and rules that govern parenting, less can be said about cohabiting unions (Brown, 2010). Due to stability and the promise of commitment that characterizes marriage, children are able to flourish under these conditions more. Critics argue that marriages allow for preparation for child-bearing compared to cohabitation since the latter unions are sometimes formed following a pregnancy.

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Brown (2010) therefore postulates that children in two biological parents cohabiting families fare worse than in married families since they tend to be more economically deprived. Factors such as divorce or the relationship status at the time of birth influence future cohabitation or marriage patterns. This is due to the transfer of values and attitudes by parents to their children (Harris & Styrc, 2017). The study found out that factors that affect mental health in relationships include sexual intimacy, social support, networks, companionship and emotional reinforcement. These would appear higher in marriages if the quality of marriage is higher due to a better selection process. Therefore this study sheds more light about the cyclical effects of cohabitation relationships and their future consequences. Mental Well-Being Differences in Cohabitation and Marriage: The Role of Childhood Selection.

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