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Infants Benefit From a Marital Environment

Cohabitation Ends in Separation Much of the Time

MARRIAGE : INFANTS BENEFIT FROM A MARRIED FAMILY. In a recent study published in the Journal of Family Psychology, infants’ home environments and relationship with their mothers were found to be healthier when the mothers were married rather than cohabiting or single. Aspects of the mother-child relationship were explored at six and fifteen months of age: the behavior of each toward the other, the home environment, and the nature of the infant’s attachment. With one exception, scores were consistently higher for the married moms.

Significantly, the number of adults in the home was less important that the marital status.

[“Do Infants Benefit from a Married Family?,”,; Abstinence Clearinghouse E-Mail Update, 26Jul06]




COHABITATION ENDS IN SEPARATION HALF OF THE TIME. A study published in the journal Demography finds that almost 1 of 2, or 46 of 100 cohabitating relationships last no longer than 5 years.

Thus, 46% of those who live together end in separation, while 44% of such relationships end up in marriage.

Table 2 in the journal shows that 24% break up in one year, 34% by two years, 40% by three, 44% by four, and 46% by five.

Meanwhile, 24% get married after a year of living together, 34% within two, 39% by three, 42% by four, and 44% by five years of cohabiting.

According to the study’s lead researcher, Daniel Lichter of Cornell University, “The common view of cohabitation as a steppingstone to marriage needs to be seriously questioned…Instead, serial cohabitation may be an emerging norm as cohabiting unions form and break up. If marriage promotion programs hope to target poor cohabiting women, our results seemingly suggest that the likelihood of success is not assured.” 

The study showed that the common failure of cohabitation affects poor women more severely since they tend to rely financially on their live-in partners.

[“Cohabitation Ends in Separation 90% of the Time,”, 07-21-06,; Abstinence Clearinghouse E-Mail Update, July 26, 2006]