Sociology: Family and Households (Change in Patterns)

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Marriage and Divorce 

The increase in divorce rates: due to the Divorce Reform Act of 1969 (made it easier to get divorced as no one had to be blamed for the termination). In addition there is less social stigma to get or be divorced, partly due to Sercularisation (loss of religion). Also, it is likely to be due to the growing independence of women as approximatley 70% of divorces are initiated by women.

Decrease in first marriages: change in social attitudes, along with the fact that people (especially women) are becoming more career orientated. This has been proven in a study carried out by McRobbie, who compared women's magazines from the 1970's and the 1990's, he found that the moral message sent to woman had done a U-Turn, as in the 70's the main message was to get married whereas in the 1990's (20 years later) the main message was to get a good education and a highly paid and respected job. Therefore people started marrying later in life as there is not such a rush as there used to be. In addition marriage comes at a high price with the average wedding costing around £21,000. Due to this:

  • More people cohabiting
  • Increase in children outside of marriage
  • Increase in re-marriage


  • More independence for women
  • more re-marriages leads to them having found the 'better' person and let them live happily.
  • Increase in family diversity.


  • Increase in family diversity
  • Affect on small businesses e.g. bridal shops.
  • More money needed from the Welfare State.


Cohabiting has become more common and popular as it is viewed as a 'trial marriage' by many. The reason for the rise in cohabitation is down to the changing role of women, growing divorce rates and Sercularisation.

Cohabitation means less commintment because there are no legal attachments. It also makes the break up easier. On the other hand, some people view marriage as 'just a piece of paper' therefore if it holds no value it would not make sense to spend such a large…


Ibrahim - Team GR


This is a fantastic, detailed and thorough revision resource! Thank you and continue your great work!!

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