Download
Action Filename Size Access Description License

Abstract

Following the footsteps of Jessie Bernard (1956), this dissertation intends to provide a panoramic view of remarriage in contemporary US society. It consists of three parts: a socio-demographic profile, the internal dynamics and couple interaction patterns in remarriage, and remarried dyads’ connectedness to their immediate social environment. The first study used two nationally representative datasets to cover a wider range of ages up to 52 and updated the proportion of formerly married individuals entering into a remarriage, the ratio of remarriages among all existing marriages, the wait time to remarriage, and the ratio of remarriages ending in divorce. The first part of analytical results assesses the relative importance of attained status, ascribed status, and life course variables in affecting the pace of entry into remarriage. More interesting is the second part of the analysis: few of the variables traditionally associated with the dissolution of a first marriage played any role in divorce for the second time. In addition, remarriages were no more fragile than first marriages in that they were no more likely to end in divorce. Even if a second marriage dissolved, it took individuals a significantly longer time to exit from the remarriage than the first time around. The second essay explores the marital happiness and couple interaction patterns in remarriage, using remarried women’s own first marriage as the benchmark for comparison. Contrary to findings from extant literature, fixed-effects results suggest that women enjoyed significantly higher marital happiness in remarriage than in their first marriage, and they reported significantly more frequent positive interactions and significantly less frequent conflict in remarriage than they experienced in the first marriage. The third study compares the network configuration of remarried older adults to that of their continuously married counterparts and traces changes in their discussion networks over time. Remarried older adults had smaller networks, which consisted of more friends than kin. In addition, remarried older adults talked to their associates significantly less frequently, were emotionally less close to them, and the density of their network was lower than continuously married older adults. Similarly, a spouse was less integrated to remarried older adults’ network, thereby generating fewer spouse-between ties and more spouse-independent ones. With respect to network change, since remarried older adults have more fragmented personal networks, they also had a significantly higher turnover of friends (peripheral alters). On the other hand, they were less likely to lose consanguines as discussion partners. Characteristics of alters lost and gained (except for density) by remarried older adults did not differ from those by first married adults, indicating that remarried older adults replaced associates lost with those having similar emotional closeness and contact frequency so that the overall structural characteristics of their networks could be preserved. Yet, those rotated out or in were less connected to other associates in the first place, resulting in lower overall density after these changes.

Details

Additional Details

Actions

from
to
Download Full History