1. Do you agree with Cherlin’s summation that higher education is one of the major social developments in the 20th century? How has this impacted the family?

2. What did Burgess mean when he wrote that marriage was “in transition from an institution to a companionship”? What distinguishes the individualistic marriage from the companionate marriage?

3. How has cohabitation changed over the last 5o years? How might this have contributed to changed we find in the ‘American Family’. Please be specific.

4. Describe the two greatest shifts in the meaning of marriage? Briefly discuss the three eras of Divorce.

5. Explain how divorce can have negative effects on children. How do children adjust following divorce? Explain the stressors in the divorce process for children. Explain the contradictory findings in the impact on children.

6. How do first marriages and remarriages differ? Why are step families an ‘Incomplete institution’ according to Cherlin?

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In the latter half of the 20th century, from about 1960 onward, women increasingly attended college and began to delay marriage until they were well into their 20’s. These women have often already had a live-in relationship with a boyfriend. Unlike women in the 1950’s who generally married right out of high school (typical age for a woman to marry in 1950 was twenty), did not go on to college and began child-rearing right away. Education impacted the family indirectly and directly this way, by delaying marriage, and sometimes child-rearing. However, it also resulted in many women choosing to try and raise children and have a career simultaneously. This has fundamentally changed the composition of the American Family, creating many homes with two-working parents, “latch-key” kids, and kids with older parents....
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