What Twenty-Somethings Think About Marriage. Research Brief.

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Page Count
8
Year Published
2009
Author (Individual)
Piccard, Peter.
Author (Organization)
National Healthy Marriage Resource Center.
Resource Type
Brief
Resource Format
PDF
Resource Language
English
Young adults today live in an American society where social norms include divorce, living together outside of marriage and having children out-of-wedlock. The U.S. divorce rate has decreased slightly and stabilized in recent years, yet divorce remains a significant social issue. Previous research has shown that the implications for children who experience the divorce of their parents include elevated risk for conduct disorders and psychological problems, low self-esteem, a greater likelihood of obtaining a lower level of education and lower status jobs, and greater potential to experience trouble in their own marriages. Further, marriage rates seem to be on the decline, from 8.2% in 2000 to 7.3% in 2007; and those who do marry are doing so at an older age than in previous generations. Despite significant divorce rates and declining marriage trends, many surveys indicate that most young adults expect to marry, and marry for life. The percentage of young Americans who express that having a good marriage is extremely important to them has increased since the 1980's. The idea of marriage continues to carry a powerful emotional charge for most young adults. The institution of marriage has lost much of its significance in terms of social norms and religious necessity and is seen as one option among many in couple relationships. More often marriage is a personal rather than a social standard to increase positive outcomes for children.

The National Healthy Marriage Resource Center, in collaboration with public leaders and key stakeholders, identified the need to conduct research within the broad 18-30 young-adult age group and subsequently identified the most effective and relevant messaging platforms to speak to these segments on the topic of marriage. This research, conducted by TRU, a research organization specializing in this "Millennial" (aka Twenty-somethings) population, provides further evidence that most young people aspire to marry, regardless of current relationship or level of commitment, and that expectations for marriage success are remarkably high. This research provides critical new insight into the minds and hearts of young adults on the topic ofmarriage and defines segments of this populationbased on their attitudes toward marriage. The purpose of this Research Brief is to summarize thefindings of this research. In particular, the segmentsclassified by this population's attitudes offer a new way for marriage/relationship education (MRE)practitioners to think about applicable messages onthe subject of healthy relationships and marriage. (Author abstract)

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