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Assessing the impact of community marriage policies on county divorce rates.

Publication Year: 
2004
Personal Author: 
Birch, Paul James.
Weed, Stan E.
Olsen, Joseph.
Journal Article
Page Count: 
9

Community marriage initiatives (CMIs) are designed to strengthen marriage and increase marital stability by addressing relevant laws, policies, and cultural factors. We examined a specific CMI designed to lower divorce rates by establishing a shared public commitment among clergy to strengthen marriage. A mixed-effects general linear model was used to determine whether changes in divorce rates over time were different before than after in 122 sites. Results indicate that divorce rates declined more rapidly following adoption, and this decline was larger than that observed in comparison counties. This difference in declines translates into a 2% difference annually in favor of CMI counties. Implications for measuring the effectiveness of CMIs are addressed. (Author abstract) 29 references.

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