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Author: James, Spencer
Resulting in 7 citations.
1. Beattie, Brett
James, Spencer
Pathways to Marriage and Union Formation among Young Adults
Presented: Las Vegas NV, American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, August 2011
Cohort(s): NLSY97
Publisher: American Sociological Association
Keyword(s): Cohabitation; Marriage

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

Union formation among young adults has changed drastically over the past few decades. This paper provides an overview of the changes in union formation pathways for American young adults with an emphasis upon multiple cohabitation relationships. Using data from the NLSY97, young adults are tracked from 12-16 years of age till 24-28 years, which encompasses the prime union formation years. Approximately 60% of first coresidential relationships were a cohabitation relationship, over a half of which would end in dissolution (with approximately equal numbers having married and that are still cohabiting.. It is found that of those who dissolve their first cohabitation relationship, just under two-thirds will enter a second cohabitation. This paper includes the identity of the partners and finds around a third of the second cohabitation relationships were started with the same partner from the first. This paper also examines the variations in pathways by education levels and race. By including both higher order relationships and information on partner identity, a nuanced and complex picture of union formation emerges. By emphasizing the numerous union formation pathways young adults can take, this paper urges family researchers to care when using summary measures of cohabitation, as this can omit vital nuances in the pathways taken by young adults.
Bibliography Citation
Beattie, Brett and Spencer James. "Pathways to Marriage and Union Formation among Young Adults." Presented: Las Vegas NV, American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, August 2011.
2. James, Spencer
Variance in Trajectories of Marital Quality Prior to Divorce
Presented: San Francisco CA, Population Association of America Meetings, May 2012
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: Population Association of America
Keyword(s): Divorce; Family Background; Marital Dissolution; Marital Satisfaction/Quality; Marital Stability; Marriage; Socioeconomic Status (SES); Work History

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

Despite dramatic shifts in cohabitation, nonmarital childbearing, and union dissolution over the last several decades, marriage remains an important societal institution. Consequently, the stability and quality of marriage is of considerable importance to many social scientists. However, gaps remain in our knowledge of how marital quality changes with marital duration. One salient dimension that research has yet to examine is the shape and pattern of marital quality among individuals whose marriages end in divorce. To address this shortcoming, I employ finite mixture models that allow me to assess variance in patterns of marital dynamics by looking for naturally occurring trajectories of marital quality (e.g., a group with high but declining marital quality, a group with consistently low marital quality, etc.). Regression analysis is used to examine patterns of association between membership in the observed trajectories and covariates such as socioeconomic status, past relationship history, family background, work history, and fertility.
Bibliography Citation
James, Spencer. "Variance in Trajectories of Marital Quality Prior to Divorce." Presented: San Francisco CA, Population Association of America Meetings, May 2012.
3. James, Spencer
Variation in Marital Quality in a National Sample of Divorced Women
Journal of Family Psychology 29,3 (June 2015): 479-489.
Also: http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/fam/29/3/479.html
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: American Psychological Association (APA)
Keyword(s): Divorce; Marital Satisfaction/Quality; Modeling, Latent Class Analysis/Latent Transition Analysis

Previous work has compared marital quality between stably married and divorced individuals. Less work has examined the possibility of variation among divorcés in trajectories of marital quality as divorce approaches. This study addressed that hole by first examining whether distinct trajectories of marital quality can be discerned among women whose marriages ended in divorce and, second, the profile of women who experienced each trajectory. Latent class growth analyses with longitudinal data from a nationally representative sample were used to “look backward” from the time of divorce. Although demographic and socioeconomic variables from this national sample did not predict the trajectories well, nearly 66% of divorced women reported relatively high levels of both happiness and communication and either low or moderate levels of conflict. Future research including personality or interactional patterns may lead to theoretical insights about patterns of marital quality in the years leading to divorce.
Bibliography Citation
James, Spencer. "Variation in Marital Quality in a National Sample of Divorced Women." Journal of Family Psychology 29,3 (June 2015): 479-489.
4. James, Spencer
Variation in Trajectories of Women's Marital Quality
Social Science Research 49 (January 2015): 16-30.
Also: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0049089X14001434
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: Elsevier
Keyword(s): Divorce; Life Course; Marital Conflict; Marital Satisfaction/Quality; Modeling, Latent Class Analysis/Latent Transition Analysis

I examine variation in trajectories of women's marital quality across the life course. The analysis improves upon earlier research in three ways: (1) the analysis uses a sequential cohort design and data from the first 35 years of marriage; (2) I analyze rich data from a national sample; (3) I examine multiple dimensions of marital quality. Latent class growth analyses estimated on data from women in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth-1979 (N = 2604) suggest multiple trajectories for each of three dimensions of marital quality, including two trajectories of marital happiness, two trajectories of marital communication, and three trajectories of marital conflict. Socioeconomic and demographic covariates are then used to illustrate how factors such as income, cohabitation, and race-ethnicity set individuals at risk of poor marital quality throughout the life course by differentiating between high and low trajectories of marital quality. Women on low marital quality trajectories are, as expected, at much greater risk of divorce. Taken together, these findings show how fundamental socioeconomic and demographic characteristics contribute to subsequent marital outcomes via their influence on trajectories of marital quality as well as providing a better picture of the complexity in contemporary patterns of marital quality.
Bibliography Citation
James, Spencer. "Variation in Trajectories of Women's Marital Quality." Social Science Research 49 (January 2015): 16-30.
5. James, Spencer
Beattie, Brett
Premarital Cohabitation and Marital Quality: A Reassessment
Presented: Washington, DC, Population Association of America Annual Meetings, March 31-April 2, 2011
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: Population Association of America
Keyword(s): Cohabitation; Family Structure; Marital Satisfaction/Quality; Marital Stability

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

Prior research has established a relationship between premarital cohabitation and subsequent marital outcomes, with cohabitors generally reporting lower marital quality. Using preliminary data from the NLSY97 and borrowing heavily from the strengths of propensity scores, we employ a novel method for concurrently examining the impact of two perspectives (social selection and experience of cohabitation) commonly used to explain the negative relationship outcomes cohabitors experience. Results reveal that the experience of cohabitation is negatively related to marital quality but only when selection factors are not included in the model. We find (preliminary) support for the social selection perspective, thereby supporting prior work. Procedures for estimating the full model are then articulated. This paper, then, makes several contributions, the primary being the ability to model selection into the experience of cohabitation in the same model. These results serve to underscore the complex pathways between union formation, family structure, and marital outcomes.
Bibliography Citation
James, Spencer and Brett Beattie. "Premarital Cohabitation and Marital Quality: A Reassessment." Presented: Washington, DC, Population Association of America Annual Meetings, March 31-April 2, 2011.
6. James, Spencer
Beattie, Brett
Reassessing the Link between Women's Premarital Cohabitation and Marital Quality
Social Forces 91,2 (December 2012): 635-662.
Also: http://sf.oxfordjournals.org/content/91/2/635
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Keyword(s): Cohabitation; Family Structure; Marital Satisfaction/Quality

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

Using data from 2,898 women from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth-1979, we employ a novel method to examine two perspectives, social selection and the experience of cohabitation, commonly used to explain the negative relationship outcomes cohabiting women report. Results reveal cohabitation is negatively related to marital happiness and communication and positively related to conflict. As in previous research, selection mechanisms appear to increase the odds of cohabitation while decreasing marital happiness. A closer examination of the problem also reveals a negative effect of the experience of cohabitation. This paper's primary contributions are the ability to model selection and experience in the same model and evidence of a robust effect of cohabitation on marital quality. These results underscore the complex pathways between union formation, family structure and marital outcomes.
Bibliography Citation
James, Spencer and Brett Beattie. "Reassessing the Link between Women's Premarital Cohabitation and Marital Quality." Social Forces 91,2 (December 2012): 635-662.
7. Shafer, Kevin M.
James, Spencer
Gender and Socioeconomic Status Differences in First and Second Marriage Formation
Journal of Marriage and Family 75,3 (June 2013): 544-564.
Also: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jomf.12024/abstract
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing, Inc. => Wiley Online
Keyword(s): Divorce; Gender Differences; Life Course; Marital Status; Marriage; Socioeconomic Status (SES)

In this article, we address how first and second marriages are formed by asking whether SES has similar effects on first and second marriage entry. Like many studies of first marriage, we focus on gender, socioeconomic characteristics (education, income, and employment status), and gender differences in the effect of SES. To examine this question, we use the NLSY79 (n = 12,231 never-married and 3,695 divorced persons), discrete-time logistic regression, and heterogeneous choice models to test for statistically significant differences by gender and between first and second marriages. Our models show gender differences in first and second marriage entry, that the effect of SES on marriage entry differs between first and second marriage, and that the interaction between gender and SES has a unique association with marital entry for never- and previously married individuals. Our results have implications for understanding marriage formation, stratification across the life course, and the well-being of divorced persons who remarry.
Bibliography Citation
Shafer, Kevin M. and Spencer James. "Gender and Socioeconomic Status Differences in First and Second Marriage Formation." Journal of Marriage and Family 75,3 (June 2013): 544-564.