Degree Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2008

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

David Schweingruber

Second Advisor

Teresa Downing-Matibag

Third Advisor

Alicia Cast

Abstract

Despite the increased prevalence of cohabitation, our understanding has been limited by a primarily quantitative focus that neglects to capture the voices of actual cohabitors. Using a symbolic interactionist approach, my study explores the way in which cohabitors construct meaning from the perspective of young adult cohabitors. Based on in-depth interviews with both members of the cohabiting relationship, three different aspects of meaning-making are highlighted. First, I describe two major meanings of cohabitation---cohabitation as relationship and cohabitation as residence---that shape decisions to cohabit and the experience of cohabitation. Second, I explain the meaning of marriage for cohabitors by focusing specifically on gender. Third, I draw attention to respondents' perceptions of the meaning of cohabitation held by their significant others. Each of these aspects contributes to an increased understanding of cohabiting relationships and their place in the dating/marriage world.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.31274/rtd-180813-16928

Publisher

Digital Repository @ Iowa State University, http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/

Copyright Owner

Megan Elizabeth Nielsen

Language

en

Proquest ID

AAI3316244

OCLC Number

271437046

ISBN

9780549688938

File Format

application/pdf

File Size

182 pages

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