Disagreements among cohabiting and married couples in 22 European countries

van der Lippe, Tanja, Voorpostel, Marieke and Hewitt, Belinda (2014) Disagreements among cohabiting and married couples in 22 European countries. Demographic Research, 31 247-273. doi:10.4054/DemRes.2014.31.10

Author van der Lippe, Tanja
Voorpostel, Marieke
Hewitt, Belinda
Title Disagreements among cohabiting and married couples in 22 European countries
Journal name Demographic Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1435-9871
Publication date 2014-07
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.4054/DemRes.2014.31.10
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 31
Start page 247
End page 273
Total pages 27
Place of publication Rostock, Germany
Publisher Max-Planck-Institut fuer Demografische Forschung / Max-Planck-Institut for Demographic Research
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: Cross-national research suggests that married people have higher levels of well-being than cohabiting people. However, relationship quality has both positive and negative dimensions. Researchers have paid little attention to disagreements within cohabiting and married couples.

Objective: This study aims to improve our understanding of the meaning of cohabitation by examining disagreements within marital and cohabiting relationships. We examine variations in couples’ disagreements about housework, paid work and money by country and gender.

Methods: The data come from the 2004 European Social Survey. We selected respondents living in a heterosexual couple relationship and aged between 18 and 45. In total, the study makes use of data from 22 European countries and 9,657 people. Given that our dependent variable was dichotomous, we estimated multilevel logit models, with (1) disagree and (0) never disagree.

Results: We find that cohabitors had more disagreements about housework, the same disagreements about money, but fewer disagreements about paid work than did married people. These findings could not be explained by socio-economic or demographic measures, nor did we find gender or cross-country differences in the association between union status and conflict.

Conclusions: Cohabiting couples have more disagreements about housework but fewer disagreements about paid work than married people. There are no gender or cross-country differences in these associations. The results provide further evidence that the meaning of cohabitation differs from that of marriage, and that this difference remains consistent across nations.
Keyword Division-of-Labor
Relationship Quality
Marital Quality
Premarital Cohabitation
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article 10

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Institute for Social Science Research - Publications
Official 2015 Collection
School of Social Science Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 3 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 4 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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