Financial Disagreements and the Stability of Cohabiting Unions

Jeff Dew, University of Virginia

Knowing that financial disagreements are highly related to marital distress (and possibly divorce), this study examines how financial disagreements and perceptions of financial inequity relate to cohabitors' relationship stability. Preliminary proportional hazards models using the National Survey of Families and Households show that financial disagreements positively relate to the hazard of participants separating from their partners as opposed to marrying or remaining together. Interestingly, finances are the only topic of disagreement related to relationship instability. Perceived financial inequity also positively predicts cohabiting unions breaking up. It is the only type of inequity that predicted breakup. Consequently, as for married individuals, financial disagreements can be highly problematic for relationship stability among cohabitors.

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Presented in Session 102: Family Economic Relations