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To the best of our knowledge, the existing evidence comes from just five studies.
The family functioning in both early and adult life course stage and the mutual support exchanged between generations is a central issue in research on happiness and life satisfaction (Proctor et al. However, the impact of an adult child’s life choices on the quality of relations with parents has so far hardly been investigated in empirical practice.
Recently, this subject has been attracting increasing attention, though.
This article investigates how cohabitation among young people affects their level of satisfaction with their relationship with their parents.
We analyse data from the recently released Generation and Gender Survey for Poland, a country with a limited degree of social acceptance of cohabitation, a high degree of attachment to the institution of marriage, and a familialistic culture.
Since young adults who choose to cohabit are a rather specific group, we use statistical methods that allow us to control for both the observed and the unobserved characteristics of cohabiters.
We find that young people who cohabited in their first union rated their level of satisfaction with their parental relationship lower than their peers who were married.
Women who cohabit for over three years prior to marriage have over 50 percent higher dissolution rates than women who cohabit for shorter durations.
Last, cohabitors and non-cohabitors whose marriages have remained intact for eight years appear to have identical dissolution rates after that time.
Thus, at least in the context of a country where informal partnerships are not yet fully socially accepted or institutionally supported, the role of cohabitation in intergenerational relations may not be neutral.
Most European countries have experienced a decline in the rates of marriage, which is increasingly preceded or replaced by cohabitation.