Social Support and Young Women's Economic Well-Being after Divorce in Malawi

Isabel Pike, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Given the rise of complex families, significant research has been carried out on the consequences of divorce in the western world. Far less is known, however, about the consequences of divorce in contemporary Africa. Prior analyses have estimated that up to half of first marriages in Malawi end within the first five years(Grant and Soler-Hampejsek 2014), suggesting the critical importance of understanding how the experience of divorce affects women’s well-being. We will use a mixed methods approach to examine how the availability of social support prior to a divorce influences young women’s economic well-being after the union has dissolved. The analysis will use data from the Malawi Schooling and Adolescent Study (MSAS), a longitudinal survey that followed a cohort of 14-16 year olds over the period 2007 to 2013. The quantitative data will be supplemented with 50 in-depth marriage history interviews collected from ever married women in 2013.

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 Presented in Session P1. Marriage, Unions, Families, and Households