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Singles’ relational attitudes in a time of individualization

Authors
Journal
Social Science Research
0049-089X
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
39
Issue
6
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2010.03.012
Keywords
  • Attitudes
  • Singles
  • Marriage
  • Cohabitation
  • Singlehood
  • Panel Data

Abstract

Abstract The rise in singlehood among young adults is often seen as an indication that young adults are nowadays more individualized, suggesting that singlehood is viewed as a positive experience. Using the Panel Study of Social Integration in the Netherlands, we examined singles’ ( N = 836) relational attitudes across young adulthood. Singles were not very positive about singlehood and a large majority felt more positive about a partner relationship than about being alone. Most singles were also more positive about living together than about steady dating and cohabitation was more popular than marriage. We furthermore examined whether values, life-course experiences and ageing influence singles’ relational attitudes. Value orientations and age proved to be the most consistent predictors. Singles with liberal values and older singles had less positive attitudes toward relational commitment than less liberal and younger singles. The findings suggest that the positive image of singlehood needs to be reconsidered.

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