Tag Archives | Marriage

Marriage, Choice, and Couplehood in the Age of the Internet

Michael J. Rosenfeld

Sociological Science, September 18, 2017
DOI 10.15195/v4.a20

How do the Internet and social media technology affect our romantic lives? Critics of the Internet’s effect on social life identify the overabundance of choice of potential partners online as a likely source of relationship instability. This study examines longitudinal data showing that meeting online does not predict couple breakup. Meeting online (and particularly meeting through online dating websites) predicts faster transitions to marriage for heterosexual couples. I do not claim to measure any causal effect of Internet technology on relationship longevity or marriage formation. Rather, I suggest that the data are more consistent with a positive or neutral association between Internet technology and relationships than with a negative association between the Internet and romantic relationships.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Michael J. Rosenfeld: Department of Sociology, Stanford University
Email: mrosenfe@stanford.edu

Acknowledgements: This project was generously supported by the National Science Foundation, grants SES-0751977 and SES-1153867, M. Rosenfeld principal investigator, with additional funding from Stanford’s Institute for Research in the Social Sciences and Stanford’s United Parcel Service endowment. Thanks to Reuben J. Thomas, Amanda Mireles, Kate Weisshaar, Jasmine Hill, Ariela Schachter, Taylor Orth, Stanford’s Graduate Family Workshop, and anonymous reviewers for comments on earlier drafts.

  • Citation: Rosenfeld. Michael J. 2017. “Marriage, Choice, and Couplehood in the Age of the Internet.” Sociological Science 4: 490-510.
  • Received: June 6, 2017
  • Accepted: August 8, 2017
  • Editors: Olav Sorenson, Stephen Morgan
  • DOI: 10.15195/v4.a20

Obesity Is in the Eye of the Beholder: BMI and Socioeconomic Outcomes across Cohorts

Vida Maralani, Douglas McKee

Sociological Science, April 19, 2017
DOI 10.15195/v4.a13

The biological and social costs of body mass cannot be conceptualized in the same way. Using semiparametric methods, we show that the association between body mass index (BMI) and socioeconomic outcomes such as wages, being married, and family income is distinctly shaped by gender, race, and cohort rather than being above a specific threshold of BMI. For white men, the correlation between BMI and outcomes is positive across the “normal” range of BMI and turns negative near the cusp of the overweight range, a pattern that persists across cohorts. For white women, thinner is nearly always better, a pattern that also persists across cohorts. For black men in the 1979 cohort, the association between BMI and wages is positive across the normal and overweight ranges for wages and family income and inverted U–shaped for marriage. For black women in the 1979 cohort, thinner is better for wages and marriage. By the 1997 cohort, however, the negative association between body mass and outcomes dissipates for black Americans but not for white Americans. In the social world, “too fat” is a subjective, contingent, and fluid judgment that differs depending on who is being judged, who does the judging, and the social domain.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Vida Maralani: Department of Sociology, Cornell University
Email: vida.maralani@cornell.edu

Douglas McKee: Department of Economics, Cornell University
Email: douglas.mckee@cornell.edu

Acknowledgements: We thank Maurice Gesthuizen, Richard Breen, and Jason Fletcher for their comments and suggestions and Sam Stabler, Luke Wagner, Kate Bradley, and Isadora Milanez for providing superb research assistance.

This research uses data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 and 1997, and also data from Add Health, a program project directed by Kathleen Mullan Harris and designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and funded by grant P01-HD31921 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 23 other federal agencies and foundations. Special acknowledgment is due Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Information on how to obtain the Add Health data files is available on the Add Health website (http://www.cpc.unc.edu/addhealth). No direct support was received from grant P01-HD31921 for this analysis.

  • Citation: Maralani, Vida, and Douglas McKee. 2017. “Obesity Is in the Eye of the Beholder: BMI and Socioeconomic Outcomes across Cohorts.” Sociological Science 4: 288-317.
  • Received: January 30, 2017
  • Accepted: February 27, 2017
  • Editors: Jesper B. Sørensen, Stephen Morgan
  • DOI: 10.15195/v4.a13

The Decoupling of Sex and Marriage: Cohort Trends in Who Did and Did Not Delay Sex until Marriage for U.S. Women Born 1938–1985

Lawrence L. Wu, Steven P. Martin, Paula England

Sociological Science, February 13, 2017
DOI 10.15195/v4.a7

In this study, we examine cohort trends in who did and did not delay sex until marriage for U.S. women born between 1938 and 1985 using Cycles 3–7 of the National Survey of Family Growth. We find that roughly half of women born in the late 1930s and early 1940s were already sexually active prior to marriage. Especially rapid increases in not delaying sex until marriage occurred for women born between 1942–43 and 1954–55, with subsequent cohorts experiencing less rapid increases and with premarital sex reaching a plateau of roughly 85 to 90 percent for those born after 1962. Our continuous-time competing-risk models illustrate the methodological dangers of using single-decrement procedures for questions such as who did and did not delay sex until marriage. More generally, our findings suggest that the decoupling of sex and marriage was underway well before the so-called “sexual revolution” of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Lawrence L. Wu: Department of Sociology, New York University
Email: lawrence.wu@nyu.edu

Steven P. Martin: Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population, The Urban Institute
Email: smartin@urban.org

Paula England: Department of Sociology, New York University
Email: pengland@nyu.edu

Acknowledgements: Research funding from NICHD (R01 HD 29550) and NIA (R03 AG 49374) is gratefully acknowledged. An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2014 Annual Meetings of the American Sociological Association, San Francisco, CA. We thank James Raymo and the Sociological Science reviewers for helpful comments and Jessie Ford for excellent research assistance. Direct all correspondence to Lawrence L. Wu, Department of Sociology, Puck Building, 295 Lafayette Street, 4th floor, New York University, New York, NY 10012-9605, lawrence.wu@nyu.edu.

  • Citation:Wu, Lawrence L., Steven P. Martin, and Paula England. 2017. “The Decoupling of Sex and Marriage: Cohort Trends in Who Did and Did Not Delay Sex until Marriage for U.S. Women Born 1938–1985.” Sociological Science 4: 151-175.
  • Received: November 4, 2016
  • Accepted: December 23, 2016
  • Editors: Jesper B. Sørensen, Sarah Soule
  • DOI: 10.15195/v4.a7