Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

Sociology

Supervisor

Roderic P. Beaujot

Abstract

Conjugal partnerships have undergone unprecedented changes in Canadathroughout the past several decades, especially with regard to the flexibility in entry and exit from intimate relationships. The development of longitudinal datasets and advanced methods further facilitates analyses of partnership transformations from a life-course theoretical perspective and in a wide analytical scope. This dissertation investigates partnership transformations in Canadaby examining conjugal partnership trajectories and by exploring the risk factors associated with these partnership transformations.

Employing dynamic analytical approaches (e.g., LIFEHIST analysis and survival analysis), this dissertation examines data from the retrospective General Social Survey (GSS) on Family Transitions, conducted by Statistics Canada in 2006. First, Chapter 2 examines the prevalent trajectories to first marriage and second union formation through sequence analysis. The changes in trajectories (i.e., timing, probability, and quantum) show that partnership trajectories inCanadahave become more complex, differentiated and turbulent, with a striking regional difference betweenQuebecand the rest ofCanada.

Second, Chapter 3 investigates the effect of socioeconomic prospects on the trajectories to second union formation among Canadians living outside of Quebecand born in 1960-75. The results indicate that socioeconomic prospects significantly affect the odds of taking a serial-cohabitation trajectory versus a one-marriage trajectory, whereas the hazard of taking a two-marriage versus one-marriage trajectory is influenced by family structure and religiosity more significantly than socioeconomic prospects. Also, there is gender symmetry in terms of the influence of socioeconomic prospects on trajectories to second union formation.

Lastly, Chapter 4 compares the risk factors affecting the stability of men’s and women’s first and second marriages. The influence of covariates on the stability of second marriages varies significantly by gender, although similar effects of predicators are found in the stability of first marriages for both men and women. Interestingly, subsequent marital spousal-only cohabitation has a more detrimental impact on marital stability relative to other than spousal-only cohabitation; the adverse effect of spousal-only cohabitation is also found to be stronger for men than for women in both first and second marriages. The findings from this dissertation contribute to our understanding of on-going differentiations of conjugal life inCanada and of how gender is implicated in the unfolding of life-course events.