Emotional Supportiveness and the Union Transitions of Married and Unmarried Parents
As increasing numbers of children are born to unmarried parents, there is a growing need to understand the dynamics of these unions, including their quality, stability, and marriage formation. One aspect of quality is the extent to which partners are emotionally supportive of one another, and this study examines the association of this interdependent emotional supportiveness with couples' union transitions. Using the first two waves of the Fragile Families survey, the analysis compares married, unmarried cohabiting, and unmarried nonresident parents. It finds that couples where neither partner is supportive, as well as some couples where only one partner is supportive, have lower chances of maintaining a stable union and, for unmarried couples, of forming a marriage. For both transitions, active forms of supportiveness appear more salient than verbal expressions of support. This study indicates that couples benefit from active and interdependent emotional support, suggesting that programs and policy aimed at strengthening the relationships of unmarried parents should consider the emotional equity between partners.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Rights Statement: Copyright © 2008 Routledge
Keywords: dyadic processes; marriage; nonmarital childbearing; relationship quality; union dissolution
Research Type: Journal Article
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