Repartnering after Union Dissolution in Later Life

Zheng Wu, University of Victoria
Christoph M. Schimmele, University of Victoria

This study uses life table analysis and Cox models to examine patterns of repartnering in later life. The analysis uses longitudinal retrospective data on union histories from the 2007 Canadian General Social Survey. The study estimates the timing and risk of repartnering among individuals who have experienced a union dissolution at age 45 or older, treating cohabitation and (re)marriage as competing risks. The study offers three major observations. First, age constraints on repartnering are much larger when union dissolution occurs in later life. This age barrier is particularly strong for women and contributes to a wide gender gap in repartnering. Second, in contrast to what prior studies observe for younger people, cohabitation is not the predominant choice of repartnering in later life. Third, union exit status (divorce, cohabitation separation, and widowhood) is a key repartnering differential. The most disadvantageous routes to repartnering are through the experience of cohabitation separation and widowhood.

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Presented in Session 175: Couple Dynamics and Relationships in Later Life