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How Do Disadvantaged Parents View Tensions in Their Relationships? Insights for Relationship Longevity among At-Risk Couples

Maureen R. Waller
Family Relations
Vol. 57, No. 2, Enduring Couples (Apr., 2008), pp. 128-143
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20456779
Page Count: 16
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How Do Disadvantaged Parents View Tensions in Their Relationships? Insights for Relationship Longevity among At-Risk Couples
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Abstract

Drawing on longitudinal, qualitative interviews with parents in the Fragile Families Study, this paper examines the narrative frames through which partners in stable and unstable unions viewed tensions over economic issues, domestic responsibilities, personal problems, communication, trust, and their family and social networks. These interviews suggest that parents in stable unions framed tensions as manageable within the context of a relationship they perceived to be moving forward, whereas those in unstable unions viewed tensions as intolerable in relationships they considered volatile. Three years later, parents' narrative frames generally guided their decisions about maintaining or dissolving relationship, but some parents changed their interpretations in response to unexpected positive or negative events, with important implications for union longevity.

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