For this project, we assessed the quantitative basic research literature on determinants of marriage and cohabitation among disadvantaged Americans (Fein et al., 2003). We also prepared a guide to aspects of nine major national surveys useful in studying marriage and cohabitation determinants (Burstein et al., 2003). We organized our review report around ten broad themes that have been salient in union research. For each theme, we assessed findings on the formation, quality and stability of both marital and cohabiting unions. We also provided eleven cross-cutting research recommendations in the report's executive summary. In this brief, I discuss two of the most important cross-cutting research needs we identified. The first is the need for more research on determinants for economically disadvantaged populations. The second is the need to study the pathways by which external factors affect couples' daily interactions and thereby the long-term outcomes of their unions. (Author abstract modified)
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Determinants of Marriage and Cohabitation Among Disadvantaged Americans: Two Themes From a Literature Review.