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The Relevance of Marriage Plans for Cohabiting Emerging Adults' Psychological Well-Being: Considering Economic Security and Relationship Quality

NCJ Number
Emerging Adulthood Dated: May 2024 Pages: 1-12
Date Published
May 2024

In this study, researchers examine whether marriage plans affect the psychological well-being of emerging adults who are cohabiting.


The findings of this study of the relevance of marriage plans for cohabiting emerging adults' psychological well-being indicate that marriage plans may be inadequate for differentiating between cohabitors’ well-being. The authors find that economic security and discrete relationship quality measures better explain differences than marriage plans. These findings add to burgeoning research on cohabitation in emerging adulthood. Family researchers have considered the presence of marriage plans to distinguish between non-marital cohabiting unions. The researchers assess, in the context of emerging adulthood, whether marriage plans differentiate between cohabitors in terms of psychological well-being. Analyzing data from the Toledo Adolescent Relationships Study (TARS), the researchers examined associations for depressive and anxiety symptoms in a sample of 300 emerging adult cohabitors. The researchers also compared cohabitors with 216 married emerging adults (total N = 516) and also assessed relationship quality and economic security as possible confounding factors. Results suggested that cohabitors without marriage plans experienced more frequent anxiety and depressive symptoms. However, significant associations did not remain in multivariable models, particularly when considering economic security. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: May 1, 2024