The Latino remarriage conundrum : explaining the divergence in Latino and white marital transitions in remarriage



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The purpose of this dissertation was to investigate the Latino remarriage conundrum: Latinos have first marriage and divorce rates similar to whites but notably lower remarriage rates than whites. What explains this divergence in race, ethnicity and nativity (R-E-N) differences for remarriage? The question is particularly intriguing because the R-E-N patterns for first marriage and divorce are often explained as a consequence of Latinos having a cultural orientation that promotes pronuptial values. Despite having socioeconomic disadvantage compared to whites, this view suggests that Latinos marry and divorce at rates similar to whites because of their strong cultural attachment to marriage. The conundrum is how could pronuptial values fully account for Latino-white patterns in marriage and divorce but not for remarriage? To investigate the Latino remarriage conundrum, I utilized a mixed method approach using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979-2010 (NLSY79), the National Survey of Family Growth 2006-2010 (NSFG) surveys and 23 in-depth interviews with recently divorced white and Latina women. I examined a variety of economic, cultural, and social factors to explore why remarriage patterns differ from marriage and divorce among R-E-N groups. Findings suggest that religious affiliation, parental reactions to post-divorce dating, and socioeconomic preferences for remarriage influence white-Latino remarriage differences.