The Role of Student Debt, Consumer Debt, and Assets in Union Transitions during Early Adulthood

Jeff Dew, Pennsylvania State University

Despite a rich literature that links economic stability to union formation, research has not yet examined the role of assets, consumer debt, and student debt in union formation during early adulthood. This oversight is unfortunate given that young adults have substantially more debt and assets than ever before. This omission is also unfortunate because assets and consumer debt influence marital satisfaction and conflict even after accounting for income, education, and other variables linked to marital formation. Using prospective longitudinal data from the National Survey of Families and Households (N = 1,470), this study will assess whether assets, consumer debt, and student debt predict the length of time until first union transition for cohabiting and noncohabiting adults ages 18 – 35. This study will use a competing-risks Cox regression with participants having a range of 0 to 88 months until union transition or becoming right censored.

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Presented in Poster Session 7