divorce, marital quality, latent class growth analysis


Previous work has compared marital quality between stably married and divorced individuals. Less work has examined the possibility of variation among divorcés in trajectories of marital quality as divorce approaches. This study addressed that hole by first examining whether distinct trajectories of marital quality can be discerned among women whose marriages ended in divorce and, second, the profile of women who experienced each trajectory. Latent class growth analyses with longitudinal data from a nationally representative sample were used to “look backward” from the time of divorce. Although demographic and socioeconomic variables from this national sample did not predict the trajectories well, nearly 66% of divorced women reported relatively high levels of both happiness and communication and either low or moderate levels of conflict. Future research including personality or interactional patterns may lead to theoretical insights about patterns of marital quality in the years leading to divorce.

Original Publication Citation

Spencer L. James. 2015. “Variation in Marital Quality in a National Sample of Divorced Women.” Journal of Family Psychology 29(3) 479-489.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Journal of Family Psychology




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor