Cohabitation, Gender, and Happiness: A Cross-Cultural Study in Thirty Countries

Olga Stavrova*, Detlef Fetchenhauer, Thomas Schloesser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Research commonly finds married people to be slightly happier than unmarried cohabitors-the phenomenon referred to as the cohabitation gap. In this article, we examine several relationships. First, we consider whether there are gender differences in the cohabitation gap; second, whether these gender differences are the same in different countries; and third, whether national differences in the gender role norms and gender equity in economic empowerment can explain these cross-national variations. Relying on the psychological theories of social norms, we differentiate between societal and personal gender role norms. We found that in societies with more liberal societal gender role norms, the cohabitation gap for women but not for men is substantially reduced. This effect was independent from women's personal gender role norms as well as a country's gender equity in economic empowerment. The findings are discussed in relation to the theories of social norms and gender conformity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1063-1081
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Volume43
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • happiness
  • social norms
  • gender
  • cohabitation
  • marriage
  • MARITAL-STATUS
  • RELATIONSHIP QUALITY
  • MENTAL-HEALTH
  • COHABITING RELATIONSHIPS
  • MARRIED INDIVIDUALS
  • FEELING DISCREPANT
  • LIFE SATISFACTION
  • SOCIAL NORMS
  • SEX-ROLES
  • STEREOTYPES

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