Psychological Distress of Marital and Cohabitation Breakups

Posted: 9 Dec 2013

See all articles by Lara Patrício Tavares

Lara Patrício Tavares

ISCSP - Universidade de Lisboa

Arnstein Aassve

Bocconi University - Department of Policy Analysis and Public Management

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

Using data from a large survey, the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), this paper explores the extent to which marital and cohabiting unions differ with respect to the short-term effects of union dissolution on mental health. We compare married individuals who divorced or separated with cohabitors whose first union ended and test the hypothesis that married individuals experience larger negative effects. Results show that initial differences are not statistically significant once the presence of children is controlled for, suggesting that the presence of children is a particularly significant source of increased psychological distress in union dissolutions. However, parenthood does not explain serious psychological distress, which appears to be associated with enduring traits (the personality trait neuroticism).

Keywords: Psychological distress, Mental health, Cohabitation, Marital status, Separation, Personality

Suggested Citation

Tavares, L. and Aassve, Arnstein, Psychological Distress of Marital and Cohabitation Breakups (2013). Social Science Research , Vol. 42, 2013, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2364950

L. Tavares (Contact Author)

ISCSP - Universidade de Lisboa ( email )

Rua Almerindo Lessa
Lisboa, 1300-663
Portugal

Arnstein Aassve

Bocconi University - Department of Policy Analysis and Public Management ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

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