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Conference Proceeding

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Marriage -- United States -- Psychological aspects, Unmarried mothers -- Marriage, Mothers -- Social conditions


A substantial number of studies suggest that marriage provides psychological benefits for individuals. However, it is less known if the beneficial effects of marriage on psychological wellbeing vary by motherhood status prior to marriage. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 79 Cohort, we estimate the effects of marriage moderated by motherhood status on subsequent levels of psychological well-being among a sample of the initially never married women. Our results indicate that entering a first marriage is associated with greater improvements in psychological well-being for single mothers compared to childless women. The results are somewhat inconsistent with previous studies about the psychological impacts of marriage for single mothers, partly because our analysis assesses the effects of “first” marriage for “never married women” at the baseline rather than the consequence of marriage among “single women.” Nonetheless, our results suggest that single mothers benefit more from marriage than childless women do.


Authors' version of a paper presented at the Annual Meetings of Population Association of America, Detroit, Michigan, 2009.

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