Abstract

The effect of the sequencing of marriage and first birth on marital dissolution among adolescent mothers is investigated. We compare three groups who had a first live birth before age 20: those married before becoming pregnant, those married between conception and birth, and those who did not marry before the birth. The analysis demonstrates that teenage mothers are less likely to experience a separation if they marry before rather than after the birth. Among those marrying before the birth, there is little difference between those who marry before or after becoming pregnant. The effects of marital status at first birth are shown to vary by race, marital duration, and historical time.

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