Marriage and Divorce

  • Gary R. Birchler
  • William Fals-Stewart
Part of the The Springer Series in Adult Development and Aging book series (SSAD)


By the year 2000, 13% of the U.S. population will be over 65 years old (Peterson and Bahr, 1989); by 2040 it is estimated that this proportion will reach nearly 25% (Goldberg, 1992). Soon the average American will live up to 25 years after raising children to adulthood. A quarter of one’s adult life may be spent in retirement. People entering retirement may have to deal with taking care of their aging parents as the number of people over 75 years of age increases (Goldberg, 1992). These significant changes in the demographics of our aging population suggest that families will be composed of more older people and fewer younger people; more divorces and remarriages will require important adjustments between husbands and wives. In particular, there is concern for women in their late 50s and 60s who will be called upon to care for (a) their elderly parents, (b) their adult children, and (c) their spouses (Goldberg, 1992; Peterson and Bahr, 1989). Because women generally outlive their husbands by a decade, it begs the question, “Who will provide for these women?” In this ominous context, marriage, as the persistent and venerable institution that it is, will become more challenged and will be an important resource for the elderly.


Elderly Couple Adult Child Marital Satisfaction Divorce Rate Marital Conflict 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gary R. Birchler
    • 1
  • William Fals-Stewart
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, School of MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaSan Diego, La JollaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyOld Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA

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