Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
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.
Digital Repository @ Iowa State University, http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/
Megan Elizabeth Nielsen
Nielsen, Megan Elizabeth, "Meaning making among young adult cohabitors" (2008). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 15719.