9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN13 Sociology of Families and Intimate Lives

2009-09-04 13:30:00 2009-09-04 15:00:00 Friday, 4 September 13:30 - 15:00 Partnerships Building II, Auditório B1.04

First marriage and marital disruption in Italy: the role of non-family living

The phase preceding union formation belongs to the crucial process of individual development and it usually involves several transitions such as leaving formal education, entering the labour market, leaving parental home. The existing literature predicts that both the timing and the sequencing of these events are expected to have an impact on the following careers (Waite et al., 1986; Beets et al., 1999). In particular, Zeman (2002) shows that adults who lived alone after leaving their parental home also present a higher propensity to disrupt marriage. This can be the result of different mechanisms. First is selection: living alone can simultaneously be associated to a stronger attachment to individualistic values that might lead to higher propensities to union dissolution as well. Second, living alone may cause the development of attitudes that make success in marriage more difficult. For example, those who have experienced a period of independence will value their autonomy to a higher degree, therefore a period of non-family living may be more likely to dissolve a marriage (Berrington and Diamond, 1999). Using micro-level data from ISTAT Multipurpose Survey 2003 and developing multi-process duration models, we will try to understand how premarital behaviors, and in particular living alone, may influence the transition to first marriage and the subsequent marriage stability. It is particularly interesting to study the impact of different patterns of transition to adulthood in the Italian case, characterised by strong peculiarities, such as a latest-late transition to adulthood, low diffusion of independent living arrangements as well as cohabitation.