Marital Instability Over the Life Course: 1981-1988
Investigators: Alan Booth, David J. Johnson, Lynn K. White, & John N. Edwards

This study consists of data drawn from a three-wave panel study on marital instability. Five major dimensions of marital quality formed the foci of the study: divorce proneness (or marital instability), marital problems, marital happiness, marital interaction, and marital disagreements. Initially, the investigators devoted considerable attention to female labor force participation as it related to marital dissolution and divorce proneness. For the last two waves, the investigators drew heavily on a life course perspective to guide their investigation. Life course theories emphasize the extent to which social behaviors are a product of individuals' relative positions along a developmental continuum. A total of 2,033 cases and 1,593 variables were assessed across the three waves. Topics addressed in the study include: demographics (i.e., household characteristics, race, income, religion, education, etc.); marital/divorce history; pre-marital courtship history; marital behavior (e.g., division of labor, quarreling/violence); mental and physical health of husband and wife; employment (history, status, attitudes, and aspirations); attitudes about children; satisfaction about various aspects of life (e.g., marriage, home, community, etc.); problem areas in marriage; divorce/separation (including previous discussions of and current behavior, attitudes about divorce); and involvement with friends, relatives, voluntary associations, and the community.

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