The links between premarital parenthood, meanings of marriage, and marital outcomes

Susan Goff Timmer, Terri L. Orbuch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


Using a longitudinal sample of 373 Black and White newlyweds from the Early Years of Marriage Study, we examined the effects of premarital parenthood on meanings of marriage and the consequent effects of these meanings on the risk of divorce by the 4th year of the couples' marriages. Results indicated that premarital parents were significantly more likely than nonparent couples to mention practical advantages of marriage in year 1 (e.g., financial security, having a home, spouse is/will be a good parent). Results of Cox regressions indicated that for premarital parents, perceiving practical advantages of marriage in year 1 reduced their risk of divorce by 85%. Results are discussed in terms of the adjusting family-life-education and treatment needs of premarital parents compared with nonparent couples and the consequences for their marital stability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-185
Number of pages8
JournalFamily Relations
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2001



  • Divorce
  • Income differences
  • Marital meanings
  • Premarital parenthood
  • Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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