Early marriage in the United States : why some marry young, why many don’t, and what difference it makes

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dc.contributor.advisor Regnerus , Mark
dc.contributor.committeeMember Bartkowski , John P .
dc.contributor.committeeMember Cavanagh , Shannon E .
dc.contributor.committeeMember Ellison , Christopher G .
dc.contributor.committeeMember Raley , Ruthine K .
dc.creator Uecker , Jeremy Elliot
dc.date.accessioned 2010 -10 -07T20 :38 :58Z
dc.date.accessioned 2010 -10 -07T20 :39 :04Z
dc.date.accessioned 2014 -02 -19T22 :41 :38Z
dc.date.available 2010 -10 -07T20 :38 :58Z
dc.date.available 2010 -10 -07T20 :39 :04Z
dc.date.available 2014 -02 -19T22 :41 :38Z
dc.date.created 2010 -05
dc.date.issued 2010 -10 -07
dc.date.submitted May 2010
dc.identifier.uri http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /ETD -UT -2010 -05 -1158
dc.description.abstract American family life has undergone drastic changes over the last five decades . The median age at first marriage has risen sharply over that time , a trend that has attracted the attention of a number of family scholars . Less is known , however , about those who continue to marry early in a society where such a practice is increasingly rare and where the benefits to marriage during young adulthood are thought to be diminishing . In this dissertation , I ask specifically (a ) what types of people continue to marry early in a context where delayed marriage is the norm , (b ) how culture can impact marital timing , and (c ) what effect marriage has on the mental health and well -being of young adults . To answer these questions , I analyze survey data primarily from the first and third waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health , a panel study of American adolescents that began in 1994 -95 and tracked its respondents into young adulthood in 2001 -02 . The results suggest that a significant minority of young adults—25 % of women and 16 % of men—marry early , and early marriage occurs most frequently among young adults with low educational trajectories and who come from families with more limited resources . These young adults are typically found in rural communities and in the Southern United States , and they tend to identify with conservative religious traditions like conservative Protestantism and Mormonism . Culture , in the case of involvement in a religious community , can shape marriage timing by limiting the appeal of cohabitation , increasing marital desires and expectations , and by reducing perceived conflict between marriage and higher education . Moreover , a prevailing cultural schema that prescribes full time work as a prerequisite for marriage keeps even young adults who wish they were married from doing so . Finally , young adults who are married or engaged exhibit the best mental health in young adulthood . These findings suggest that demographic and cultural shifts in marriage have not spread evenly throughout the population , and despite its poor reputation early marriage may have some benefits for young adults .
dc.format.mimetype application /pdf
dc.language.iso eng
dc.subject Early marriage
dc.subject Marriage timing
dc.subject Religion
dc.subject Culture
dc.subject Transition to adulthood
dc.title Early marriage in the United States : why some marry young , why many don’t , and what difference it makes
dc.type.genre thesis *
dc.type.material text *
thesis.degree.name Doctor of Philosophy
thesis.degree.level Doctoral
thesis.degree.discipline Sociology
thesis.degree.grantor University of Texas at Austin
thesis.degree.department Sociology
dc.date.updated 2010 -10 -07T20 :39 :04Z


Early marriage in the United States : why some marry young, why many don’t, and what difference it makes. Doctoral dissertation, University of Texas at Austin. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /ETD -UT -2010 -05 -1158 .

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