This paper explores the topic of cohabitation, and the social institutions which form attitudes towards cohabitation. These institutions include work status, religion, and education. Data was taken from questions asked on the 1994 General Social Survey. A scale was created using seven GSS questions as a measure of conservative or liberal family values. Variables used include level of education, church attendance, age at first marriage, and attitudes towards premarital sex. GSS data was run in the SPSSx program using crosstabs to measure the relationship between variables. The measurements used include chi-square and gamma. Results show that most people get married in the average ages (24 through 30), and that church attendance, out of all the variables used, has the strongest effect on attitudes towards cohabitation. Theoretical perspectives are presented as a way of explaining the trend of cohabitation. Functionalism is the focus of the theory section, as the focus of the paper as a whole is the interaction between social institutions. Future research is suggested, especially qualitative research, such as interviews, as these would offer more depth about the experience of cohabitation, not only the attitudes towards cohabitation.


Fitz Gibbon, Heather


Sociology and Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

Available for download on Thursday, January 01, 2150

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© Copyright 1997 Mandy S. King