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Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

Promises they can Keep: Low-Income Women's Attitudes Toward Motherhood, Marriage, and Divorce

TitlePromises they can Keep: Low-Income Women's Attitudes Toward Motherhood, Marriage, and Divorce
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsCherlin, A, Cross-Barnet, C, Burton, LM, Garrett-Peters, R
JournalJournal of marriage and the family
Volume70
Pagination919-933
Date PublishedNov 1
ISBN Number0022-2445; 0022-2445
Accession Number19885381
Abstract

Using survey data on low-income mothers in Boston, Chicago, and San Antonio (n = 1,722) supplemented with ethnographic data, we test 3 propositions regarding mothers' attitudes toward childbearing, marriage, and divorce. These are drawn from Edin & Kefalas (2005) but have also arisen in other recent studies. We find strong support for the proposition that childbearing outside of marriage carries little stigma, limited support for the proposition that women prefer to have children well before marrying, and almost no support for the proposition that women hesitate to marry because they fear divorce. We suggest that mothers' attitudes and preferences in these 3 domains do not support the long delay between childbearing and marriage that has been noted in the literature. Throughout, we are able to study attitudes among several Hispanic groups as well as among African Americans and non-Hispanic Whites.

PMCID

2743434