Sunday, September 23, 2018
Health

Living together doesn't cause divorce, after all

For decades, academics and social scientists have claimed that couples who live together before getting married face a higher risk of divorce. But it's just not true, says Arielle Kuperberg an assistant professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina–Greensboro.

"Cohabitation does not cause divorce — yay!" she told LiveScience.com, adding the exclamation because about two-thirds of new marriages in the United States today start with shacking up.

Previous studies compared the divorced rates of couples who cohabited with those who didn't by using the age of marriage. Kuperberg did something new: She compared the relationships using the date of first moving in together. That date, she reasoned, is when a couple really takes on the roles of marriage, regardless of whether they have a legal certificate.

Kuperburg, in research released Monday by the nonpartisan Council on Contemporary Families, found that premarital cohabitation by itself has little impact on a relationship's longevity. Those who began living together, unmarried or married, before the age of 23 were the most likely to later split.

"Part of it is maturity, part of it is picking the right partner, part of it is that you're really not set up in the world yet," she says. "And age has to do with economics."

Indeed, other research released by the Council on Contemporary Families suggests that the longer couples wait to start living together, the better their chances for long-term relationship success. This makes sense to historian Stephanie Coontz, the council's director of research and public education.

"Marriages require much more maturity than they once did," she says. In the 1950s, husbands and wives stepped into well-defined gender roles. "Nowadays, people come to marriage with independent aspirations and much greater ideas of equality. Maturity is so important, and negotiating skills are so much more important."

Virginia Rutter, professor of sociology at Framingham State University in Massachusetts, welcomed Kuperburg's findings.

"The big message for me is thank goodness there is now really good, clear, unambiguous research that can help us get rid of the 'cohabitation is the issue' approach,'' Rutter told the Christian Science Monitor. "It goes from the easy answer — that life's problems are about character — to the more challenging answer, that life's problems are about context. What are the resources that you are empowered to pull together to create a good life?"

Other research included in Monday's report finds that moving in may be fine, but rushing things might have disadvantages. Sharon Sassler, a sociologist at Cornell University, has found that many couples with lower incomes and less education decided to move in together because of financial pressures.

Most cohabiters with college degrees move in together only after a long stretch of dating, Sassler says. More than half have been couples for more than a year, with an average of 14 months dating before cohabiting. More than half of the cohabiters without college degrees move in together after less than six months of dating. Sassler argues that it is the type of premarital cohabitation that predicts divorce, not necessarily cohabitation in itself.

Besides age, another predictor of divorce is when couples have children before even moving in together. According to Kuperberg, couples who had a child pre-cohabitation had a 57 percent higher likelihood of splitting when compared to couples who didn't have a child before moving in together.

Comments
Too late for many, Florida’s prescription database is finally mandatory

Too late for many, Florida’s prescription database is finally mandatory

This is a story of success. Or maybe it’s a cautionary tale.The difference, I suppose, is whether you are haunted by the lives ruined and lost, or you are focused on the path going forward. Either way, you need to understand the history and the playe...
Published: 09/22/18
Tampa General nurses record the last heartbeats of dying patients, making a family memory

Tampa General nurses record the last heartbeats of dying patients, making a family memory

TAMPA — As John Reisinger waited with family at Tampa General Hospital, grief settled in like a fog. So some of the details are hazy.But he remembers the moment when three women in white lab coats approached him.The day before, his niece, Jessica Rau...
Published: 09/21/18
I was hospitalized for my eating disorder. Here's what Netflix shows get right and wrong about it.

I was hospitalized for my eating disorder. Here's what Netflix shows get right and wrong about it.

It took me a year and a half to watch Netflix’s To the Bone. The movie, which debuted in January 2017, portrays Ellen, a 20-year-old woman battling anorexia nervosa, and her experience being in and out of various treatment programs. When it w...
Published: 09/20/18
Updated: 09/21/18
All Children’s unveils a $95 million research center. Next step: ‘Cure some diseases.’

All Children’s unveils a $95 million research center. Next step: ‘Cure some diseases.’

ST. PETERSBURG — "Vicky Hopkins" is 37 weeks pregnant and splayed on a bed at Johns Hopkin’s All Children’s Hospital. Four obstetricians surround her as she groans."My back is killing me," she complains, but she keeps pushing. Soon the round shape of...
Published: 09/20/18
Watchdog slams safeguards for foster kids on psych drugs

Watchdog slams safeguards for foster kids on psych drugs

WASHINGTON — Thousands of foster children may be getting powerful psychiatric drugs prescribed to them without basic safeguards, says a federal watchdog agency that found a failure to care for youngsters whose lives have already been disrupted...
Published: 09/17/18
Doctors dismissed her, but she turned out to be right after years of needless suffering

Doctors dismissed her, but she turned out to be right after years of needless suffering

The prominent New York City gynecologist didn’t bother to conceal his disdain."Stop practicing Google medicine," Lina Kharnak remembers the doctor chiding her when she asked about a possible cause of her worsening leg and back pain. The disease about...
Published: 09/16/18
Updated: 09/17/18
Tampa General Hospital’s East Pavilion advised not to use running water after water main break

Tampa General Hospital’s East Pavilion advised not to use running water after water main break

Since Saturday morning, patients and staff in Tampa General Hospital’s East Pavilion and Rehabilitation Center have been advised against using running water.As of Sunday afternoon, it was not known when the recommended ban would be lifted.According t...
Published: 09/16/18
Anger management: Learn healthy ways to handle it, and unlearn bad behavior

Anger management: Learn healthy ways to handle it, and unlearn bad behavior

What makes you mad? Dropping your new phone in the toilet — after deciding not to take the extra coverage that would have replaced it? Being cut off in traffic? Having a parking place "stolen" from you? Doing dishes after shopping for and cooki...
Published: 09/14/18
Red Tide outbreak can be particularly bad for people with asthma or allergies

Red Tide outbreak can be particularly bad for people with asthma or allergies

The toxic algae bloom known as Red Tide has left a trail of dead fish in its wake up the western coast of Florida. The bloom that had been wreaking havoc on our southern neighbors has now made its way to the Tampa Bay area. High concentrations of the...
Published: 09/14/18
In Florida and everywhere, a big shift is underway. It’s changing the way we go to the doctor.

In Florida and everywhere, a big shift is underway. It’s changing the way we go to the doctor.

The health care business in Florida and across the nation is the midst of monumental change as insurers, hospital chains and even retailers begin to venture outside their traditional roles. Hospitals are getting into the insurance end of the busines...
Published: 09/17/18