Serial Cohabitation among Men in Britain: Does Work History Matter?



This article asks three research questions: Do serially cohabiting men form a selected group via their work histories? Are serial cohabitors less likely to marry but more likely to separate than single-instance cohabitors? If so, what part is played by features of their work histories in explaining these outcomes? The analyses are based on two British birth cohort studies relating to men born in 1958 (N = 7,333) and 1970 (N = 6,126). I find that serial cohabitors are less likely to marry but are more likely to separate. Although serial cohabitors do form a selected group via their work histories, the negative effect of serial cohabitation on marriage and the positive effect of serial cohabitation on separation remain significant and strong even after I control for cohabitors’ before-cohabitation and within-cohabitation work histories. It appears that the experience of serial cohabitation itself that affects the attitudes of men towards marriage.


Cohabitation Marriage Separation Work histories Event-history analysis Birth cohort studies 

Cohabitations successives des hommes en Angleterre : l’histoire professionnelle joue-t-elle un rôle ?


Cet article s’articule autour de trois questions de recherche : les hommes ayant connu des cohabitations successives forment-ils un groupe sélectionné au regard de leurs expériences de travail ? Les hommes qui ont expérimenté plusieurs cohabitations connaissent-ils des probabilités plus élevées de rupture que ceux qui n’ont connu qu’une seule cohabitation ? Dans l’affirmative, comment des caractéristiques de leur trajectoire professionnelle peuvent-elles expliquer ces résultats ? Les analyses sont réalisées à partir de deux études britanniques de cohortes de naissance d’hommes nés en 1958 (N = 7,333) et 1970 (N = 6,126). Les résultats montrent que les hommes ayant connu plusieurs cohabitations ont moins de probabilité de se marier et plus de probabilité de rupture. Bien qu’ils forment un groupe sélectionné au regard de leur histoire professionnelle, les effets négatif de cohabitations successives sur le mariage et positif sur la rupture restent significatifs et importants même après le contrôle des histoires professionnelles des cohabitants avant la cohabitation et pendant la cohabitation. Il semble que ce soit l’expérience de la cohabitation successive elle-même qui ait une incidence sur les attitudes des hommes vis-à-vis du mariage.


Cohabitation Mariage Séparation Histoire professionnelle Analyse des biographies Études de cohortes de naissances 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oxford Institute of Social Policy, Department of Social Policy and Intervention and Nuffield CollegeUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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