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Principal Investigator(s): Nock, Steven L., University of Virginia; Sanchez, Laura A., Bowling Green State University; Wright, James D., University of Central Florida
In 1997, Louisiana enacted a covenant marriage law which gave couples an alternative to a conventional marriage license. By requiring premarital counseling and proof of fault for a subsequent divorce, along with other features, covenant marriages were intended to be more difficult both to enter and to exit. The Marriage Matters panel survey was designed to examine the effects of covenant marriage on rates of marital dissolution, relationship quality, and other outcomes. The data were collected in three waves. Wave 1 was collected approximately 3 to 6 months after marriage. Respondents were asked questions about their recent marriage, the time leading up to their recent marriage, premarital counseling, convenant marriage, previous marriages, biological and adopted children, feelings about children, their views on marriage and divorce in general, their religious views, satisfaction in marriage, household responsibilities, their background, health and happiness, their social and political views, and about the questionnaire itself. Wave 2 was administered approximately 18 months after the first wave. The second wave queried respondents on their marriage today, their views on marriage and divorce in general, their religious views, household responsibilities, satisfaction in marriage, convenant marriage, biological and adopted children, feelings about children, problems in their marriage, advice and counseling, their health and happiness, employment, housing, and income, household composition, and their social and political views. Wave 3 was administered 12 to 24 months after the second wave. Respondents answered questions on their marriage today, views about marriage and divorce in general, their religious views, household responsibilities, satisfaction in marriage, the celebration of holidays, convenant marriage, biological and adopted children, feelings about children, problems in their marriage, advice and counseling, their health and happiness, employment, housing, and income, household composition, and their social and political views. In the divorce questionnaire, the following topics were addressed: how things stand at the moment, feelings about their marriage, arguments during their marriage, social life since the separation or divorce, their health and well-being, moving to a divorce agreement, advice and counseling, the divorce process and convenant marriage, and household income the year before and after the separation. Demographic information collected across all three waves includes: age, gender, religious participation, employment status, education level, number of children birthed or adopted, household composition, and household income. Demographic information collected in Wave 1 only includes: race, religious affiliation, number of previous marriages, and political affiliation. Demographic information collected through the divorce questionnaire includes: gender, marital status, and personal and partner income.
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Nock, Steven L., Laura A. Sanchez, and James D. Wright. Marriage Matters Panel Survey of Newlywed Couples, 1998-2004, Louisiana. ICPSR29582-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2012-06-29. doi:10.3886/ICPSR29582.v1
Persistent URL: http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR29582.v1
This study was funded by:
- National Science Foundation (SBR-9803736, SES-9819156)
Scope of Study
Subject Terms: adultery, children, conflict resolution, dating (social), divorce, domestic responsibilities, domestic violence, educational background, employment, family background, family conflict, family relations, health, household composition, income, life satisfaction, marital relations, marital satisfaction, marital status, marriage, marriage ceremonies, marriage counseling, mental health, political attitudes, religious beliefs, remarriage, social attitudes, social issues, social values, spouses
Smallest Geographic Unit: state
Date of Collection:
Unit of Observation: married couple
Universe: Adult couples marrying in either covenant or standard marriages between 1998 and 2004 in 17 of 60 randomly selected parishes in Louisiana.
Data Types: survey data
Data Collection Notes:
In the ICPSR version of the collection, all variables have been renamed in order to conform to standard SAS variable naming conventions which do not allow the symbols $ or @. The "Data Documentation" section of the ICPSR codebook includes a listing of the original variable names and the names as provided by ICPSR. Also included is an SPSS program file that can be used to rename the variables back to their original names.
To limit possible disclosure risk, a number of variables have not been included in the ICPSR version of this collection, as determined in conjunction with the Primary Investigator. Please see the "Data Documentation" section of the ICPSR codebook for a list of these variables.
The description of the project methodology and results are published in book form: Nock, Steven L., Laura A. Sanchez, and James D. Wright. COVENANT MARRIAGE: THE MOVEMENT TO RECLAIM TRADITION IN AMERICA. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2008.
Study Design: The design was a three wave panel survey involving self-administered questionnaires to a sample comprised of approximately equal numbers of standard and covenant couples. Respondents (1,271 men and women representing 707 married couples) were first surveyed within 1 to 6 months of their marriages, then again approximately 2 years later, and finally at the 5-year mark. Husbands and wives were surveyed independently at all waves. When applicable, information regarding the couple's divorce were also collected.
Sample: The sample selection criteria consisted of two steps. First, 17 of 60 parishes were selected randomly and proportionate to size. Second, from these 17 parishes, all covenant marriage licenses and the standard marriage licenses filed next to the standard licenses were drawn. Standard licenses were purposefully over-sampled because of the expectation that the covenant marriage innovators would be more committed to the rigors and duration of the study. Of the 1,714 licenses that were validly part of the sampling frame, 1,310 couples were eventually confirmed for a confirmation rate of 76.4 percent. Demographically, respondents were similar to recently married people all over the United States: average age of 31; 80 percent White, 15 percent African American, 5 percent from other ethnic backgrounds; 60 percent with one or more years of college education; average family income of just over $50,000 a year. About 60 percent of the couples were both in their first marriages. For 20 percent, one partner had been previously married one or more times, and for the remaining 20 percent, this was true of both partners.
Mode of Data Collection: mail questionnaire, telephone interview
Response Rates: Wave 1: 49 percent total response rate. Wave 2: 85 percent total response rate. Wave 3: 92 percent total response rate.
Extent of Processing: ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:
- Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.
Original ICPSR Release: 2012-06-29
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