Marital separation is an informal transition that may precede or substitute for divorce. Various surveys collect data on marital separation, but the data have produced mixed estimates. The authors used data from the 1995 and 2006 waves of the National Survey of Family Growth (N = 2,216) and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979 cohort (NLSY79; N = 1,990) to examine separations among women born between 1961 and 1965. In the National Survey of Family Growth, separations were typically short and followed by divorce. In the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979 cohort, separations were longer and less likely to end in divorce. The authors relate these discrepancies to differences in study design, question universe, and question wording between the 2 surveys and show that different measures of separation lead to different conclusions about educational and racial/ethnic inequalities in the trajectories of marital disruption.
Journal of Marriage and Family – Wiley
Published: Feb 1, 2015
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