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Marital Name Changing Attitudes and Plans of College Students: Comparing Change Over Time and Across Regions

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Abstract

This study examines time period and regional effects on U.S. college students’ attitudes and plans regarding marital naming. Data were gathered at a Midwestern college in 1990 and 2006 and at an Eastern university in 2006 (N = 867). No time period effect was identified for marital name plans in the Midwest samples. Women were neither more nor less likely to plan to retain their birth name in 1990 as compared to 2006. A time period effect was found for attitudes: Midwest women in 2006 were more likely to say a woman was more committed to the marriage if she took her husband’s last name as compared to Midwest women in 1990. This indicates that women in the Midwest may have become more conservative over time. We also found regional differences: women in the East were significantly more likely than women in the Midwest to plan to keep their birth surname upon marriage. Findings suggest a trend toward more conservative attitudes over time and location although plans, perhaps due to the rareness of maintaining a birth surname upon marriage, have not changed.

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Correspondence to Laurie K. Scheuble.

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Scheuble, L.K., Johnson, D.R. & Johnson, K.M. Marital Name Changing Attitudes and Plans of College Students: Comparing Change Over Time and Across Regions. Sex Roles 66, 282–292 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-011-0089-z

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