Attitudes toward marriage and divorce in East Asia
Attitudes about marriage and divorce, which is related to cultural values and societal norms, are important as they can be indicators of couple relationship quality and marital stability. Along with the rapid social, economic, and cultural changes, East Asians have experienced the major transition of sociocultural interpretations of marriage and divorce. Using a person-oriented approach and the 2006 East Asian Social Survey data set (N = 9,035), this study explored if there were underlying groups of East Asians regarding attitudes toward marriage and divorce. Also, this study examined how those subgroup memberships differed on patriarchy, gender role ideology, age, gender, marital status, education level, and country. Four qualitatively different profiles were identified: conservative (10.8%), progressive (79.6%), married men less happy (3.1%), and married women less happy (6.5%). People in the conservative profile, where South Koreans accounted for 45.8%, were more likely to be older, currently married, and less educated. Individuals in the progressive profile were less likely to have traditional patriarchal and gender role ideology, and about 90% of Chinese and Japanese belonged to this profile. The characteristics of married men less happy and married women less happy group were similar to each other except for the gender ratio and gender role ideology. This study revealed that East Asians have different attitudes toward marriage and family by being categorized into four distinctive groups, which can be implications for policymakers and marriage educators in East Asia.
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