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Melvin Stephens

The Role of Romantic Partners, Family, and Peer Networks in Dating Couples' Views about Cohabitation

Publication Abstract

Manning, Wendy, Jessica A. Cohen, and Pamela Smock. 2011. "The Role of Romantic Partners, Family, and Peer Networks in Dating Couples' Views about Cohabitation." Journal of Adolescent Research, 26(1): 115-149.

Emerging adults are increasingly cohabiting, but few studies have considered the role of social context in the formation of their views of cohabitation. Drawing on 40 semistructured interviews with dating couples, we explored the role of romantic partners, family, and peers on evaluations of cohabitation. In couples where each member had a differing view about cohabitation, one romantic partner’s desire to not cohabit trumped their partner’s more ambivalent feelings about cohabitation. The influence of family in the formation of cohabitation views was evident through a variety of mechanisms, including parental advice, social modeling, religious values, and economic control. Peers also played a key role, with couples using the vicarious trials of their peer networks to judge how cohabitation would affect their own relationship. By using a couple perspective, assessing reports from both members of each couple, this study showcases how beliefs about cohabitation are formed within an intimate dyad.

DOI:10.1177/0743558410376833 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC3476461. (Pub Med Central)

Country of focus: United States of America.

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