Stability of Successive Unions: Do People Learn from Their Past Partnership?

  • Eva Beaujouan
Part of the INED Population Studies book series (INPS, volume 5)


Increasing union instability and the diversification of conjugal trajectories have opened up a new research area in family studies: the breakup of second unions. There are two levels of questioning here. At the level of unions, are second relationships more fragile than first ones? At the individual level, are the determinants of separation the same for first and second unions? This chapter takes up these questions by way of an analytical model applied to women who have already experienced a union. We find that the greater fragility of second unions is entirely explained by the selection of less “stable” women into second unions and by the difference in family structure between first and second unions. Children born before second unions are formed make those unions more unstable than they would otherwise be, and the family characteristics of the second union are much stronger determinants of its stability when neither partner has children when the new union is formed. This study contributes new material to the overall question of the differences between first and second unions.


Separation Divorce Union Children Socio-demographic determinants 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wittgenstein CentreVienna Institute of Demography (OEAW)ViennaAustria

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