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DiSIA DIPARTIMENTO DI STATISTICA, INFORMATICA, APPLICAZIONI "GIUSEPPE PARENTI" Are spouses more satisfied than cohabitors? An exploration over the last.

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Presentation on theme: "DiSIA DIPARTIMENTO DI STATISTICA, INFORMATICA, APPLICAZIONI "GIUSEPPE PARENTI" Are spouses more satisfied than cohabitors? An exploration over the last."— Presentation transcript:

1 DiSIA DIPARTIMENTO DI STATISTICA, INFORMATICA, APPLICAZIONI "GIUSEPPE PARENTI" Are spouses more satisfied than cohabitors? An exploration over the last 20 years in Italy Elena Pirani & Daniele Vignoli Dipartimento di Statistica, Informatica, Applicazioni (DiSIA) Università di Firenze Qualità della vita in Italia: venti anni di studi attraverso l’indagine Multiscopo dell’Istat

2 DiSIA DIPARTIMENTO DI STATISTICA, INFORMATICA, APPLICAZIONI "GIUSEPPE PARENTI" The emergence of cohabitation In the social landscape of Europe, unmarried cohabitation has become an increasingly popular living arrangement ( Kiernan, 2002; Perelli-Harris et al., 2010, 2012, 2014; Vignoli et al ). The emergence of unmarried cohabitation has provided stimuli for new research ( Perelli-Harris et al. 2010, 2012, 2014). A central path of inquiry focuses on the link between partnership status and the subjective well-being of individuals.  The question is whether this new form of partnership brings about a “cohabitation gap” ( Soons & Kalmijn 2009 ).

3 DiSIA DIPARTIMENTO DI STATISTICA, INFORMATICA, APPLICAZIONI "GIUSEPPE PARENTI" Marriage, cohabitation and SWB Mutual rights and obligations of cohabitors are not as well defined by law as they are in the case of spouses (e.g., property laws and divorce laws). The marriage (and its institutionalization) determines a legitimization of the union vis-à-vis the community, and normative standards with respect to appropriate behaviors.  This legitimization enhances social support of family, friends and the local community, whereas deviations from these norms may not be recognized. Marriage can reduce uncertainty regarding the future duration of the relationship more than cohabitation does. Selection effects

4 DiSIA DIPARTIMENTO DI STATISTICA, INFORMATICA, APPLICAZIONI "GIUSEPPE PARENTI" Marriage, cohabitation and wellbeing Previous studies (mostly American) have found that cohabitors are less committed to and less satisfied with their partnerships than individuals who are married (e.g., Nock 1995; Brown & Booth 1996; Stanley et al. 2004; Wiik et al. 2009). In addition, there are country variations in the degree to which relationship assessments differ across union types… …mainly because of country differences in institutionalization and in the prevalence of unmarried cohabitation (Soons & Kalmijn 2009; Wiik et al. 2012).

5 DiSIA DIPARTIMENTO DI STATISTICA, INFORMATICA, APPLICAZIONI "GIUSEPPE PARENTI" We study Italy, a setting where the diffusion of cohabitation is still less widespread than elsewhere. Using the 2002 European Social Survey for Italy, Soon and Kalmijn (2009) found that Italian cohabitors are less happy than their married counterparts. We know nothing about the link between family satisfaction and type of union for more recent years, when cohabitation started to become a more popular choice. If family satisfaction of cohabitors and spouses varies according to the level of institutionalization and the diffusion of unmarried cohabitation… … we expect this relationship to vary, within the country, across time. A temporal perspective

6 DiSIA DIPARTIMENTO DI STATISTICA, INFORMATICA, APPLICAZIONI "GIUSEPPE PARENTI" Diffusion of cohabitation in Italy (proportion of cohabitations over the number of couples)

7 DiSIA DIPARTIMENTO DI STATISTICA, INFORMATICA, APPLICAZIONI "GIUSEPPE PARENTI" Research questions 1.Are there significant differences between spouses and cohabitors in family life satisfaction assessment in a country like Italy where cohabitation is less widespread than elsewhere in Europe? 2.Are these differences blocked across years, or do they vary over time as cohabitation becomes a more popular choice?

8 DiSIA DIPARTIMENTO DI STATISTICA, INFORMATICA, APPLICAZIONI "GIUSEPPE PARENTI" Data and Variables Data  18 repeated cross-section harmonized dataset: Istat survey «Aspects of daily-life» , carried out continuatively by the Italian Statistical Office  Sample: Men and women aged Key variables  Dependent variable: Family life satisfaction assessment – satisfied (very satisfied and quite satisfied) vs. not satisfied (not very or not at all satisfied)  Independent variable: Cohabitation vs. marriage

9 DiSIA DIPARTIMENTO DI STATISTICA, INFORMATICA, APPLICAZIONI "GIUSEPPE PARENTI" Proportion of people declaring to be unsatisfied with their family life

10 DiSIA DIPARTIMENTO DI STATISTICA, INFORMATICA, APPLICAZIONI "GIUSEPPE PARENTI" Method Multilevel framework – a three-level hierarchical model with random intercepts 1. individuals (the first level units) 2. as nested in couples (the second level units), 3.which are nested in geographical regions combined with years (the third level units). N: 252,732 men and women nested in 126,366 couples, nested in 342 third level units (namely region times year).

11 DiSIA DIPARTIMENTO DI STATISTICA, INFORMATICA, APPLICAZIONI "GIUSEPPE PARENTI" 2° level: J couples 3° level: H RegionXyear Reg. 1 in 1994 couple 1 … couple j … couple J FMFMFMFM … Reg. 19 in 1994 Reg. 1 in 2012 … Reg. 19 in 2012 FM 1° level: I individuals Hierarchical structure of data

12 DiSIA DIPARTIMENTO DI STATISTICA, INFORMATICA, APPLICAZIONI "GIUSEPPE PARENTI" Variables First-level covariates – Individual socio-demographic variables  Gender, age, education, occupational status. Second-level covariates – Couple-level variables  Household size, presence of young children, self-assessment of economic resources. Third-level covariates – Contextual variables (time-series)  Demography of cohabitation: Deviation of the regional incidence of cohabitation from the national level, per year; national level of cohabitation per year.  Secularization process: Deviation of the regional incidence of people who do not go to Church regularly (=less than once per month) from the national level, per year; national incidence of people who do not go to Church regularly, per year.

13 DiSIA DIPARTIMENTO DI STATISTICA, INFORMATICA, APPLICAZIONI "GIUSEPPE PARENTI" Significant at 0.05 level NOT significant at 0.05 level Family dissatisfaction in cohabitation compared to marriage (OR)

14 DiSIA DIPARTIMENTO DI STATISTICA, INFORMATICA, APPLICAZIONI "GIUSEPPE PARENTI" Significant at 0.05 level NOT significant at 0.05 level Family dissatisfaction in cohabitation compared to marriage (OR)

15 DiSIA DIPARTIMENTO DI STATISTICA, INFORMATICA, APPLICAZIONI "GIUSEPPE PARENTI" To conclude Thanks to an original and harmonized dataset, we showed that:  in the second half of ‘90s, cohabitors illustrated a risk to be unsatisfied with their family life significantly higher than married people.  in the second decade of two-thousands, the association between union type and family life satisfaction is no longer significant, suggesting that cohabitors are not less satisfied than spouses anymore. As cohabitation becomes a popular phenomenon, marriage and cohabitation are becoming increasingly equal in individuals’ perceptions, e.g. assessment of family satisfaction.

16 DiSIA DIPARTIMENTO DI STATISTICA, INFORMATICA, APPLICAZIONI "GIUSEPPE PARENTI" To conclude Even in a country of familistic-oriented welfare state and relative small diffusion of cohabitations, the slow but continuing propagation of cohabitations leads to an increase in the approval and legitimization of cohabitors. However, if on a day-to-day basis there may be little to distinguish between the two types of union, Italian cohabitors suffer from a series of legal disadvantages compared to spouses ( Vignoli & Salvini 2014 ). A clear divergence exists in Italy between the way in which consensual unions are seen and addressed at an institutional and legislative level, and the diffusion and perception of cohabitation on an individual basis. Cohabitation still appears as an incomplete institution in Italy

17 DiSIA DIPARTIMENTO DI STATISTICA, INFORMATICA, APPLICAZIONI "GIUSEPPE PARENTI" Thank you

18 DiSIA DIPARTIMENTO DI STATISTICA, INFORMATICA, APPLICAZIONI "GIUSEPPE PARENTI" Stepwise presentation 1.Model 1 only included the union type – cohabitation vs. marriage – per year of the survey, where the reference category is represented by marriage; 2.Model 2 we added individual and couple-level socio- demographic variables; 3.Model 3 we also included aggregate-level variables that account for the degree of institutionalization and secularization within regions and over time.

19 DiSIA DIPARTIMENTO DI STATISTICA, INFORMATICA, APPLICAZIONI "GIUSEPPE PARENTI" Multilevel regression findings Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 ORsig. ORsig. ORsig. Union type by year (ref.: married) cohabitation in *** 2.66*** 2.39*** cohabitation in *** 2.51*** 3.27*** cohabitation in † 2.32*** cohabitation in * * cohabitation in *** 2.84*** 3.00*** cohabitation in *** 1.63* 2.30** cohabitation in * 2.15* 1.95* cohabitation in *** 3.57*** 2.34*** cohabitation in *** 2.14* 2.27** cohabitation in *** 1.61† 1.94*** cohabitation in *** 2.86*** 2.71*** cohabitation in *** 3.20*** 2.90*** cohabitation in ** 2.57*** 2.25*** cohabitation in *** 1.85* 1.99*** cohabitation in *** 2.08*** 1.84* cohabitation in *** cohabitation in *** 1.76* 1.35 cohabitation in † * 0.94 †p ≤.10. *p ≤.05. **p ≤.01. ***p ≤.001.

20 DiSIA DIPARTIMENTO DI STATISTICA, INFORMATICA, APPLICAZIONI "GIUSEPPE PARENTI" Robustness checks First, we acknowledge that it is important to account for individual religiosity. This information was available for all progressive data sets, except for We replicated the model estimation including individual religiosity (and excluding the year 2012). Second, our sample includes all couples, regardless of the presence of children or other members in the household. We estimated multilevel models limited to people living alone as a couple. Third, we estimated multilevel models restricting the sample to people living with at least one child. Finally, our model accounts for children in pre-school age. Results proved to be robust if we consider children aged up to 13 years. … AND we added to the analysis the 2013 provisional data, and the difference between the satisfaction of cohabitors and spouses proved to be not significant (not yet in the paper).

21 DiSIA DIPARTIMENTO DI STATISTICA, INFORMATICA, APPLICAZIONI "GIUSEPPE PARENTI" Data-related caveats We could not distinguish between cohabitation and pre- marital cohabitation nor we could explore marriage plans of cohabitors. We could not control our estimates for the duration of the relationship. Our analysis is cross-sectional by nature, and thus it has limited power in informing us about causal mechanisms.


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