9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN13 Sociology of Families and Intimate Lives

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 Families and Social Change Building II, Audit├│rio B1.03

Have you thought about breaking up your relationship? Intention to divorce from a multi-country perspective

Over the past decades, an increasing amount of research that spans the boundary between psychology and sociology is devoted to the study of marital satisfaction. It is widely accepted that a prerequisite for a thorough understanding of marital satisfaction is to take into account (a) the interpersonal processes that operate within marriages as well as (b) the contexts within which the marriages operate (Bradbury, Fincham, & Beach, 2000).

The aim of this paper is to investigate which variables affect partners┬┤ thoughts about breaking up their relationship. Therefore, different domains of variables were of interest in the current study. The first domain involves individual variables, such as socio-demographic characteristics of the subject or the extent to which partners adapt to challenges posed by the marriage. The second domain involves partner-related variables (e.g. the disagreements couples have). The final domain involves contextual factors, i.e. those that are unique to particular couples as well as those that are common to many couples.

The analyses in this study are based on the first wave of the Generations and Gender Program Surveys (GGPS). GGPS is a cross-nationally comparative survey containing data from 5 European countries with standardized questioning. The sample of individuals is representative of the population in each of the participating countries.

The results suggest that several individual and partner related variables play a significant role. For instance, we found that more women than men tend to think about breaking up their relationship and that less legally married persons have thoughts to do compared with unmarried ones. Furthermore, the way partners cope with the disagreements they have in their relationship seems to matter. The interplay between the different domains will be further discussed in this paper.