Explaining the changes in the patterns of relationships

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  • Created by: Lily
  • Created on: 01-05-13 21:54


Most people today survive into old age, this has many effects on households:

  • Many couples are composed of those whose children have left home
  • Many single-person households are made up of women, as they are living longer
  • Because life stretches on for longer, people may put off marriage/childbirth untill later life. This therefore leads to more single-person/cohabiting couples
  • For women in particular, a long period of life is avaliable after family completion
  • The birthrate has declined leading to smaller families
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There is now less pressure to conform to the "traditional" and as a result more opportunities have been made avaliable for individual achievement.

  • Marriage and childbirth now come second to careers and education
  • With more social mobility, there is less pressure/support from the extended family which could either lead to a higher level of divorce and more individual choice
  • The decision not to marry can also been seen as a positive choice e.g financial debt which weddings can burden onto a couple
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Many of the changes which have taken place have happened alongside changing social attitudes. This has become a "snowball effect" as people see examples of this and incorporate them into their own lives and so forth.

  • Cohabitation is no longer "living in sin"
  • Marriage is no longer seen as necessary
  • Illegitimacy is more acceptable
  • "unmarried mothers" -- "single-parent families" become more tolerated
  • Homosexual relationships are open & tolerant
  • More focus on the needs of the individual
  • Cost of marriage creates a negativity to the notion of marriage
  • Divorce is no longer seen as a "scandal", more acceptable
  • Rising divorce has influenced some couples into extending cohabitation
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  • Divorce is now more easily obtained as it is quicker and more avaliable.
  • "no blame divorces"
  • Legal aid to help fund the costs of divorce
  • The period of necessary marriage before has been shortened
  • Equal rights for women through employment, opportunities and finance
  • Extension of laws protecting children
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In the last 40 years women have gained many rights and have begun to achieve equally to men, in education and in work roles.

  • Majority of women now have a career/job and see this a highly important
  • Women are now feeling generally more independent
  • Women are now able to support themselves without the assitance of a man. This has lead to some significant changes e.g the level of divorce has risen as women feel able to bring up children by themselves. In 1950 3/4 of divorce petitions were by men, by 1990 however 3/4 were by women.
  • This reflects a confidence & security in the position of women
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  • Proportion of people attending religious institutions as declined significantly.
  • This reflects that religious beliefs/vows have a less direct influence
  • Increase in civil marriages reflects that marriage is no longer seen as a religious institution (unbreakable, sacred vows). Therefore the possibility of divorce is greater
  • British society has become more diverse in culture, religion and ethnicity. This diversity has lead to the unliklihood of a ceremony conducted by one particular faith/denomination. In modern society there has been an increase in multi-faith/race marriages.
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  • Women in particular, feel more able to support themselves independently as a lone mother/divorcee as the state provides help e.g child benefits/income support
  • Families feel more able to leave elderly relatives to live on their own when the state can provide support for them e.g meals on wheels, pensions, care homes etc.
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