The social composition of the divorced population was one of the first issues tackled by research on marital dissolution in the second half of the last century. This topic is still of interest now: the economic crisis has made the consequences of ending a marriage even more severe, so it is important to know where the people involved in this phenomenon are positioned in the social stratification system. This chapter reviews the recent research literature in order to show the relevance of social class to the divorce process and the changes that have occurred over time in the association between class and marital stability. The first section of the chapter outlines the theoretical frameworks that have guided much of the research on this topic. Attention is devoted to the arguments put forth by Goode (1951, 1962, 1963, 1993), which are still widely used in recent research: in Goode’s view, the social composition of people experiencing divorce depends on certain characteristics of the institutional and cultural context affecting the monetary and social costs of marital dissolution. Space is also devoted to theoretical frameworks evaluating the hypothesis of a gender difference in the relationship between social class and divorce behavior. The second section reviews the empirical research carried out in the last fifteen years in Western and in some non-Western countries. The evidence shows that the theoretical framework put forth by Goode fits Western countries quite well, but not non-Western ones. As regards the hypothesis of a gender difference in the social composition of people dissolving their marriage, the evidence is mixed and no straightforward conclusion can be drawn.

Social Class and Divorce Behavior

TODESCO, Lorenzo
2017

Abstract

The social composition of the divorced population was one of the first issues tackled by research on marital dissolution in the second half of the last century. This topic is still of interest now: the economic crisis has made the consequences of ending a marriage even more severe, so it is important to know where the people involved in this phenomenon are positioned in the social stratification system. This chapter reviews the recent research literature in order to show the relevance of social class to the divorce process and the changes that have occurred over time in the association between class and marital stability. The first section of the chapter outlines the theoretical frameworks that have guided much of the research on this topic. Attention is devoted to the arguments put forth by Goode (1951, 1962, 1963, 1993), which are still widely used in recent research: in Goode’s view, the social composition of people experiencing divorce depends on certain characteristics of the institutional and cultural context affecting the monetary and social costs of marital dissolution. Space is also devoted to theoretical frameworks evaluating the hypothesis of a gender difference in the relationship between social class and divorce behavior. The second section reviews the empirical research carried out in the last fifteen years in Western and in some non-Western countries. The evidence shows that the theoretical framework put forth by Goode fits Western countries quite well, but not non-Western ones. As regards the hypothesis of a gender difference in the social composition of people dissolving their marriage, the evidence is mixed and no straightforward conclusion can be drawn.
Advances in Sociology Research. Volume 21
Nova Science Publishers
75
105
978-1-53610-802-6
Todesco, Lorenzo
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2318/1615232
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