A Review of Four Relationship Statuses: Never Married, Cohabitating, Married, Divorced

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    • 00:01

      [A Review of Four Relationship Statuses: Never Married,Cohabitating, Married, Divorced]

    • 00:07

      DONNA HOLLAND: Hi, I am Donna Holland, Associate Professorof Sociology at Indiana University PurdueUniversity of Fort Wayne.I am also the Director for the Center of Social Research.Today I will provide a 15 minute tutorial on marriage.I will give a tutorial comparing and contrastingfour relationship statuses, never married, cohabitating,

    • 00:29

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: married, and divorced.I plan to review the patterns of entranceinto these four relationships, while also highlightingthe role of parental marital status, race, and ethnicity.I will also highlight different kinds of outcomesthat each of these statuses have by discussingsocial factors, such as social class, religion,

    • 00:51

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: relationship violence, and other social patterns.I will review these trends in the four relationship statuses,and the sociological reasons for why those relationship patternstend to occur or have occurred.Any scholar who studies sociology and culturecan tell you that cultures change.They change slowly or they change abruptly.

    • 01:13

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: In this lifetime, we are witnesses to cultural change.Relationships, and how people enter those relationships,and how they exit relationships, are undergoing change rightbefore our eyes.Being in a relationship is somethingthat everyone will experience over their lifetimes,so it's a topic that of course is very personallyinteresting to all of us.

    • 01:34

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: So let's take some time to consider the fourtypes of relationships, never married, cohabitating, married,and divorced.[Patterns of Entrance]We'll first discuss the patterns of entrance, how peopleenter into these statuses.And it actually varies by parental marital status, race,

    • 01:57

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: and ethnicity, and religiosity.So let's first discuss the role that parental marital statusplays.Among never married people, parents likelyare to be divorced, cohabitated, or never married,and they're unlikely to have ever been consistently married.Among the cohabitating couple, their parentswere most likely divorced or never married.

    • 02:18

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: And then among the people who are married,their parents are most likely to be consistently marriedcompared to the three other categories of never married,cohabitating, and divorced relationships.Among divorced people, their parentsactually are the most likely to have ever been divorced.Now let's consider how race and ethnicity playa role in relationship status.

    • 02:40

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: Among the never married group, almost halfof African Americans never marry.This wasn't always the pattern.It changed significantly from only about 10% to nearly 25%from the period of 1960 to 1970, according to the US CensusBureau.Among the cohabitation group, cohabitation

    • 03:01

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: may be a substitute for marriage among blacks and Hispanics,according to research by Brown, VanHook and Glick, 2008.Among the married group, Asians arethe most likely to marry and remain married.Roughly 95% actually remain married.Among the divorced group, the AmericanIndian and Alaskan natives and African Americans

    • 03:23

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: face the highest risk of divorce.Religion also plays a role in relationship status.People who report more religious affiliation and higher levelsof religiosity are more likely to opt for marriage.So what explains the relationshipthen between relationship status and parental divorce, and race,

    • 03:44

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: ethnicity, and religion?Sociology has a few options that might helpexplain these relationships.Parental divorce allows for role modeling of divorce behavior.Seeing how to end a marriage, demonstratingthat divorce is rough prior to the actual divorce occurring,and for some period after the divorce it might be rough,but generally people recover emotionally and they move on.

    • 04:07

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: The parental divorce is also, intentionallyor unintentionally, modeling the devaluing of marriageand the marriage commitment.Conversely, having parents who are consistentlymarried models commitment to a relationshipand places marital stability as a high value,thus leading to people with consistently married parents

    • 04:28

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: being more likely to be in a marriageand having higher odds of remainingmarried compared to others.How then, does race, ethnicity, and religionrelate to relationship status?Role modeling obviously still plays a role.But racial and ethnic patterns are very clearly delineated.Some scholars argue that factors such as having

    • 04:49

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: a marriageable mate available blocks paths to marriage.Others argue that the value of the maleheaded household and traditional views of family rolesexplains these patterns across relationship status.Similarly, religions in general, while beingmore tolerant of divorce than they have ever been before,

    • 05:10

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: still aim to keep marriages together.The values associated with religious valuesare overlapping to values of remaining married.Over time, given the acceptance of religion and divorce,the pattern of religion being related to relationship statusmay weaken.[Outcomes]

    • 05:32

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: So what are the social class outcomesacross relationship types?Among the never married group, never married malesmake less money than married males.Among the cohabitating group, theytend to make approximately $31,178according to the US Census Bureau in 2013.That income compared to the married group,

    • 05:54

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: which has the highest income possible among the fourcategories at $76,509, again according to the US CensusBureau.They also demonstrate the highest level of wealth.Among the divorced people, women aremost likely to move into poverty following divorce.And of course overall income declines for both the males

    • 06:17

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: and females following divorce.What explains then the relationshipbetween social class and relationship type?Much of the difference is associated simplywith two incomes versus only one income in a household.Some of the relationship is explainedby an associated pattern that some people with less educationare more likely to enter into a particular relationship,

    • 06:38

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: such as cohabitation.Is relationship violence likely across all typesof relationships?The answer is no.There are extreme differences of risk of relationship violenceacross relationship types.The never married group does of course stillface risks of dating violence.

    • 06:59

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: Cohabiting couples face the highest riskof partner violence.Married couples face less risk than cohabitating couples.Among the divorced people, relationship violenceis one reason for divorce.So how could a relationship status relate thento partner violence patterns?Much research has been done on this pattern.Scholars do offer some explanations.

    • 07:21

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: People who cohabitate are less committed to relationships,and are less restrained in those relationships.People who cohabitate are more likely to have experiencedother kinds of behaviors associatedwith becoming both a victim and a perpetratorof intimate partner violence.So what about intimacy?How does it vary by relationship type?

    • 07:43

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: It does indeed vary.It is hard to believe though, isn't it, that never married,this sexy singles theory that's out there,is actually unfounded.It's not supported by research.In fact, the most sexually active groupwithin a relationship are those who arein cohabitating relationships.Relationship quality might also relate to intimacy issues.

    • 08:08

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: With no formal plan to marry, theretends to be low relationship quality within cohabitatingcouples.Similarly, having an affair is much morelikely to occur with cohabitating couples.It appears that cohabitating couples are moresexually active with more than just their partners.They are far more likely to cheat than married couples.

    • 08:31

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: Obviously, relationship stabilityis challenged by these factors.Cohabitating couples are more likely to break up and notreconcile than married couples, according to Binstockand Thornton in 2003.There is one factor that might not be too surprising.The gender wage gap is the smallest

    • 08:51

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: among cohabitating couples, compared to other relationshiptypes.Among married people, they tend to be the most sexuallyactive over the life course.Here again, relationship quality might be related.Married people have the highest self-reported relationshipquality.Even though the risk of being cheated on is lower in marriage

    • 09:13

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: than in any other relationship status, about 25%of males and 15% of women admit to infidelity,according to research published in the Journal of MarriageTherapy 2015.Divorced people will often reportthat intimacy problems were associated with the reasonsfor getting a divorce.

    • 09:33

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: Infidelity is one reason people give for divorce.With each additional divorce, the likelihoodof relationship stability goes down.[Sociological Explanations]What explains these outcomes?The topics, as you see, are very intertwined.Parsing out how one item influences one of these

    • 09:54

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: is tricky, indeed challenging.Scholars identified some reason for these patterns.Again, role modeling, values, religious views,social acceptance, i.e.cultural change, and the cultural norms,folkways, and mores are changing or have changed.Lower commitment to the relationship,

    • 10:14

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: financial burdens, prior family experiences allplay a role in how people select their relationship status,and how they behave in those relationships.There are many other nuances to patterns across these fourrelationships that are not covered in this presentation.I encourage you to read work by Brown, VanHook, and Glick,and other research by Linda Waite.

    • 10:36

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: These are four of some of the leadingscholars in this area of research, includingspecific patterns across immigration generations.Meanwhile, consider why so many people continueto pursue their first relationship by cohabitatingwith their partner.I know of no research finding thatactually shows cohabitation being better than marriage.

    • 10:56

      DONNA HOLLAND [continued]: I will leave you with this question.Why do people continue to enter into cohabitation,and what does this mean for the future?

A Review of Four Relationship Statuses: Never Married, Cohabitating, Married, Divorced

View Segments Segment :


Professor Donna Holland discusses the four relationship statuses and sociological patterns. The four relationship statuses are never married, cohabitation, married, and divorced, and they each have different sociological implications. Holland discusses the patterns of entrance, outcomes of relationships, and sociological explanations.

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A Review of Four Relationship Statuses: Never Married, Cohabitating, Married, Divorced

Professor Donna Holland discusses the four relationship statuses and sociological patterns. The four relationship statuses are never married, cohabitation, married, and divorced, and they each have different sociological implications. Holland discusses the patterns of entrance, outcomes of relationships, and sociological explanations.

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