Title of Project

Social Perceptions of Cohabitation in Undergraduate College Students

Project Type

Event

Location

Miniaci Performing Arts Center

Start Date

8-4-2005 12:00 AM

End Date

8-4-2005 12:00 AM

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Apr 8th, 12:00 AM Apr 8th, 12:00 AM

Social Perceptions of Cohabitation in Undergraduate College Students

Miniaci Performing Arts Center

The present study investigated undergraduate college students’ perceptions, attitudes, and values about cohabitation. Cohabitation is operationally defined as a couple living together in an intimate, heterosexual union, without being legally married (Sassler, 2004). Current research demonstrates that cohabitation is becoming a transitional stage between singlehood and marriage in the United States (Seltzer, 2000). This study was designed to examine differences between individuals who never cohabitated versus those who would. Participants were from a private southeastern college campus. Recruited college students (N = 195) completed a Likert-test scale consisting of 50 questions about their attitudes toward cohabitation and 10 demographic questions. The sample consisted of 57 males (29.2%) and 137 females (70.3%). The mean age of the respondents was 20.4 years (range: 17-45 years, SD = 3.15). The sample was composed of Caucasians (39.5%), Black and African Americans (24.6%), and 31.8 percent of the participants were of Hispanic, Spanish or Latin origin (N = 62). Significant differences were found using 2- way ANOVAs and T-tests. Results showed that pressure from one’s partner, level of commitment to the relationship, and perceptions of cohabitation as a trial marriage varied significantly among the student groups. Future research is needed to investigate the impact of cohabitation on today’s young adult population who are marrying later and are already in the work force.