Women's changing attitudes toward divorce, 1974-2002: Evidence for an educational crossover

Steven P. Martin, Sangeeta Parashar

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This article examines trends in divorce attitudes of young adult women in the United States by educational attainment from 1974 to 2002. Women with 4-year college degrees, who previously had the most permissive attitudes toward divorce, have become more restrictive in their attitudes toward divorce than high school graduates and women with some college education, whereas women with no high school diplomas have increasingly permissive attitudes toward divorce. We examine this educational crossover in divorce attitudes in the context of variables correlated with women's educational attainment, including family attitudes and religion, income and occupational prestige, and family structure. We conclude that the educational crossover in divorce attitudes is associated most strongly with work and family structure variables.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-40
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2006



  • Attitude change
  • Divorce
  • Educational attainment
  • Family demography
  • Family inequality

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