Title

‘We want to be married on our own terms’: non-university emerging adults’ marital beliefs and differences between men and women

Keywords

emerging adulthood, gender, marital attitudes, marital beliefs, marriage

Abstract

To understand how non-university emerging adults think about marriage and how these beliefs differ by gender, we used a diverse national quantitative sample (Study 1, n = 667) from the United States and qualitative data (Study 2, n = 63) from participants of diverse geographic locations, also from the United States. Women and men valued marriage as a want rather than a need and embraced soulmate beliefs. In both quantitative (MANCOVA analyses) and qualitative data (focus group interviews), men were more likely than women to report alleviation of loneliness as a good reason to get married and were more likely to report loss of freedom and a lack of personal readiness as factors holding them back from marriage. In qualitative interviews, women were more likely than men to report holding back from marriage from fear of relationship dissolution. Overall, non-university emerging adult men and women have similar marital beliefs, but differ in notable ways. Understanding marital beliefs may help emerging adults navigate this unique period of life in securing a fulfilling union. Policy makers and educators should be mindful of how emerging adults are thinking about marriage, particularly the nuance of gender differences, in helping them form a fulfilling relationship.

Original Publication Citation

Nathan D. Leonhardt, Brian J. Willoughby, Jason S. Carroll, Shelby Astle & Joshua Powner (2020): ‘We want to be married on our own terms’: non-university emerging adults’ marital beliefs and differences between men and women, Journal of Family Studies.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2020-04-02

Publisher

Journal of Family Studies

Language

English

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Department

Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor

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