Relationship transitions and subjective wellbeing: a longitudinal analysis

Baxter, Janeen and Hewitt, Belinda (2014). Relationship transitions and subjective wellbeing: a longitudinal analysis. LCC Working Paper Series 2014-06, Institute for Social Science Research, The University of Queensland.

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Author Baxter, Janeen
Hewitt, Belinda
Title Relationship transitions and subjective wellbeing: a longitudinal analysis
School, Department or Centre Institute for Social Science Research
Institution The University of Queensland
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Series LCC Working Paper Series
Report Number 2014-06
Publication date 2014-09
Total pages 28
Language eng
Formatted abstract
We examine trends in subjective wellbeing across marital status using 9 waves of HILDA data. We advance previous research by examining two measures of wellbeing – happiness and life satisfaction, examining a wide range of possible marital statuses and examining variations within couples. Our analyses differentiate those who are single and not in a relationship, those who are in a relationship but not living together and those who are in a relationship with a live-in partner, either cohabiting or married. We compare results for cohabiters who plan to marry from those who do not, and examine differences between those in a first marriage and those in a higher order marriage, as well as respondents who are separated, divorced and widowed. We estimate a series of fixed effect models on each of the outcome variables that control for unmeasured heterogeneity and also hold constant key independent variables likely to influence wellbeing. Results indicate that men and women who are married have higher levels of wellbeing than those who are not married, although there are no significant differences in wellbeing between people cohabiting intending to marry and married. We find that transitions into relationships, marriage or cohabitation, significantly increase wellbeing while transitions out of relationships because of separation, or widowhood, negatively impact on wellbeing. We find no gender differences in these patterns and no significant differences between cohabitation and marriage.
Keyword Life satisfaction
Relationship transitions
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Tue, 16 Jun 2015, 18:16:28 EST by Mary-Anne Marrington on behalf of Institute for Social Science Research