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Unformatted text preview: Chapter 16: Divorce: Before and After • Today's high U.S. Divorce rate ◦ refined divorce rate, number of divorces per 1000 married women, more than doubled between 1960 and 1979 ▪ compares the number of divorces to the number of women at risk of divorce ◦ crude divorce rate, then number of divorces per 1000 population, declined almost 30 percent since 1979 ▪ includes portions of the population who are not at risk for divorce ◦ divorce divide: decline in divorce rates by social category ◦ divorce rates stabilized for the time being ▪ reasons: • rise in the age at marriage • better educated and better off working couples have had the economic tide in their favor • marriage education programs funded by the federal government • determination on the part of the children of a divorcing generation to make their own marriages work • maybe because cohabitation has increased • longer life span ◦ meaning of the high divorce rates: Americans find an unhappy marriage intolerable and hope to replace it with a happier one ▪ emerging trend of redivorce • why are couples divorcing? ◦ Economic factors ▪ divorce and social class • the higher the social class as defined in terms of education, income and home ownership, the less likely a couple is to divorce ▪ wives in the labor force • independence effect: employment might nevertheless contribute to a divorce by giving an unhappily married woman the economic power, the increased the independence and the self-confidence to help her decide on divorce • marriages are most stable and cohesive when husbands and wives have different and complementary roles ◦ economic interdependency in marriage is a strong bond holding a marriage together • income effect: among low-income couples, a wife's earnings may actually help to hold the marriage together by counteracting the negative effects of poverty and economic insecurity on marital stability • research suggests that desirability of a marriage relationship is a much more important factor in predicting divorce than the wife's employment • role specialization is no longer important to couple solidarity ◦ high expectations of marriage ▪ couples whose expectations are more practical are more satisfied with their marriages than are those who expect completely loving and expressive relationships ◦ decreased social, legal and moral constraints ▪ barriers to divorce function to keep marriages intact even when attractiveness of the marital relationship is low and the attractiveness of alternatives to the relationship is high ▪ no-fault divorce laws: eliminated legal concepts of guilt and are a symbolic representation of how our society now views divorce ▪ attitudes toward marriage • emphasis on the emotional relationship over the institutional benefits of marriage results in marriage being viewed as not necessarily permanent ▪ self-fulfilling prophesy: if partners behave as if their marriage could end, it is more likely that it will...
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- Spring '08