Personal traits, cohabitation, and marriage

Michael T. French, Ioana Popovici, Philip K. Robins, Jenny F. Homer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This study examines how personal traits affect the likelihood of entering into a cohabitating or marital relationship using a competing risk survival model with cohabitation and marriage as competing outcomes. The data are from Waves 1, 3, and 4 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a rich dataset with a large sample of young adults (N= 9835). A personal traits index is constructed from interviewer-assessed scores on the respondents' physical attractiveness, personality, and grooming. Having a higher score on the personal traits index is associated with a greater hazard of entering into a marital relationship for men and women, but the score does not have a significant influence on entering into a cohabitating relationship. Numerous sensitivity tests support the core findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-199
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Science Research
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Cohabitation
  • Marriage
  • Personal traits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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