, Volume 53, Issue 5, pp 1351–1375 | Cite as

Predictors of Marital Dissolution During a Period of Rapid Social Change: Evidence From South Asia

  • Elyse A. JenningsEmail author


Few studies have examined the causes and consequences of marital dissolution in non-Western settings. This article explores the fundamental factors that may predict marital dissolution in a mainly agrarian setting in South Asia, where collectivism has historically been valued over individualism and where life is centered on the family. Using event history analyses with retrospective life history data from the Chitwan Valley Family Study conducted in rural Nepal, I explore the possible predictors of marital dissolution. Results suggest that couples in which wives married at older ages and chose their spouse in conjunction with their parents face lower risk of marital dissolution, while wives’ work increases the risk. Moreover, couples married for longer durations and couples who have more children face lower risks of marital dissolution. The influences of many of these factors have changed over the last few decades, pointing toward the important role of changing social context on marital trajectories.


Marital dissolution Divorce Marriage Rural South Asia 



I am grateful for support from the Population Studies Center at University of Michigan (Grant Nos. R24 HD041028 and T32 HD007339), from the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina (Grant Nos. T32 HD007168 and R24 HD050924), from the National Science Foundation (Grant No. OISE 0729709), and from the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. I would like to thank the Institute for Social and Environmental Research in Chitwan, Nepal for collecting the data used here; William Axinn, Abigail Stewart, Jennifer Barber, Dirgha Ghimire, Rachael Pierotti, William Story, Lisa Pearce, Prem Bhandari, and Jessica Pearlman for helpful comments on earlier versions of this article; and Cathy Sun for assisting with data management. All errors and omissions remain the responsibility of the author.


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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Harvard Center for Population and Development StudiesCambridgeUSA

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