On marriage

Contributed by Leah Reynolds and Mandi Foote at Totton College.

Will your marriage turn out like your parents’ marriage?

To find out, Jay Teachman looked at data from the National Survey of Family Growth and looked for childhood factors that predicted the kind of marriage people had once they were grown up.

Teachman only took data for the female participants and focused on characteristics of their mothers’ marriages, for example the age at which they married, and the level of education they had reached when they got married.

A main finding was that if parents married as teenagers, then there was a higher chance that they would divorce, and therefore there was a lower chance of success in their children’s own marriage.

“Respondents who grew up with only their mothers had the lowest education at marriage, married husbands with the least education, and were most likely to have premarital birth,” said Teachman. So if your parents have a good marriage then the chances are you will too. However if your parents’ marriage is not as strong, you will have to work at changing the future so that you don’t turn out like your parents.

Teachman, J.D. (2004). The childhood living arrangements of children and the characteristics of their marriages. Journal of Family Issues, 25, 86-111.