Essay Example - Weakening Marriage Rates

Published: 2023-04-04
Essay Example - Weakening Marriage Rates
Type of paper:  Critical thinking
Categories:  Analysis Family Relationship Social change
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1757 words
15 min read

Today, there have been weakening marriage rates influencing the lower-class individual much higher than the working and upper class. According to the IFS (2017), it indicates that as of 2017, 56% of the upper-middle class, 39% of the working class, and 26% of the lower class were in a marriage. As a result of various societal complications and revolutions, marriage life has increasingly turned divided. Although the economy greatly influences the class divide affecting marriage rates, the differences cannot be solely based on economic factors (IFS, 2017). For instance, IFS (2017) argues that declining marriage rates cannot be entirely based on the economic structure since a decrease in marriage rates would be seen during the 1930s Great Depression. In other cases, social class differences affect marriage rates based on economic, cultural, educational, and other social differences. For instance, the more prosperous individuals in society with at least higher education, are enjoying better and more stable marriages due to various economic benefits. Comparatively, when it comes to marriage among the less fortunate individuals in society, there is a decrease, and the issue extends to working-class individuals at some point. According to the IFS (2017), there are lower marriage rates amongst the lower-class population since they have a minimal economic and social stake, fewer educational and cultural resources, and encounter the burden of stress in the low-class face.

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Additionally, another reason for the declining marriage rates among the lower-class members is based on the rising instability rates on families and incidents of single parenthood (Wilcox & Wang, 2017). Wilcox and Wang (2017), argue that long-life singleness is a major contributing factor in the lack of stable marriages as well as the declining marriage rates. Through these factors, families, particularly in the lower-class individuals and working-class, are more fragile and with the challenges seen today in terms of economic and social psychological perspectives. According to Wilcox and Wang (2017), the divide between classes is steadily growing compared to the divides during the 1970s. In the past, most of families were stable as children were brought up in two-parent families, and the parents put their differences aside for the sake of the children. However, with various changes in the social structure, the economic and social setup developed a divide. For instance, the divide in class begins with the poor people becoming less dedicated to marriages and staying in unions. At the beginning of the 1980s, the working class was beginning to encounter economic challenges, which became a significant factor in most marriage conflicts (Wilcox & Wang, 2017). Today, the different factors increasing weakening marriage rates are ties to economic struggles, cultural differences, individualism, ambivalence towards marriage, parenting, and ease of divorce, among other sensitive issues in the community as a whole.


With the increasing social class differences that have resulted in other effects such as weakening marriage rates, the lower-class individuals are majorly affected. Hence, the purpose of this paper is to analyze the weakening marriage rates that have affected lower-class individuals in society. Throughout the paper, the factors that lead to the numbers of fewer marriages in the lower class will also be analyzed from the perspective of applied behavior analysis. Through the applied behavior analysis, it focuses on the skills of teaching and modifying behaviors (Mattaini, 1995). These principles are meant to direct individuals' actions and to replace practices that are undesired with the ones that are desired. New behaviors can contribute to a quality lifestyle and can help an individual to get better at the other related activities.

Application of a Behavior Analytic Terminology

According to Wilcox and Wang (2017), continuous failure in marriages today is becoming of the most common issues as people are avoiding long-lasting relationships. With the application of the ABA, is based upon the dynamics of learning to change the behavior of social significance. In this case, on weakening marriage rates, the ABA attempts to change this behavior by providing an assessment of the functional relationship between the declining marriage rates and lower-class and working-class individuals.

To analyze the behavior, the ABC terminology or the Three Term Contingency is applicable. Within the terminology is described as Antecedent (A) to the involved behavior, the Behavior (B), and finally, the Consequence (C) of the behavior. To analyze the weakening marriage rates, the antecedent can be defined as the action immediately before the development of the behavior. It could include economic hardships, social problems, and other problems mentioned earlier. The behavior includes the decision by the lower class to avoid marriage, while the consequences involve the declining marriage rates. Deeper into the issue of weakening marriage rates, the ABC terminology outlines that the analysis can depict the effect of aesthetic design on individual decisions. According to Skinner (1965), the process of behavior change in the ABC terminology involves the identification of practices that ought to be avoided and substituting them with modifications to change the behavior. Achieving improved outcomes requires identifying significant behaviors of the identified population. More so, by use of the ABC terminology and shaping, the behavior can be modeled by ensuring that the involved parties can engage with the desired behavior or course of action.

Overview, From A Radical Behaviorist/Selections Reinterpretation and The Advantages Conferred by A Behavioral Approach

According to numerous radical behaviorists, they believe that these changes in society are a result of the changes in people's behavior. The people's behavior in marriage changes is a dramatic indication of the existing marriage divide in society today. On the other hand, the selectionist's interpretation provides a different dimension concerning the different drivers of human behavior changes. According to Wilcox and Wang (2017), while most of middle-aged upper-class individuals are in stable marriages and more marriages are seen to occur, the lower-class and working-class members of the society have failed to have long and successful marriages. With a focus on the ABC terminology to analyze the behavior change, it outlines the development whereby, during the traditional marriage setup, lower-class individuals used to have stable marriages compared to upper-class individuals. However, there was a significant change in human behavior as marriages by upper-class individuals are working and more stable compared to marriages among the lower-class population (Wilcox & Wang, 2017).

Furthermore, in the analysis of the behavior change, there is a downtrend on the marriage rates due to class division in that the lower-class members in society are likely to substitute marriage with cohabitation. Cohabitation has proven to be a more accessible root in the majority of millennial communities. According to research by Biglan and Embry (1995), it indicates that those who are poor are three times less likely to get married but to cohabit with the working class is twice less likely to do the same. Biglan and Embry's (1995) findings show that low income and less education are critical factors for those who are living outside partnerships. Moreover, about six in every ten individuals are single, while five out of ten working people are single (Biglan & Embry, 1995). Comparatively, only four in every ten middle-class members and upper-class members of the society are single. It shows how easier it is in the modern trends for the wealthy to lead successful marriages (Biglan & Embry, 1995).

Nonetheless, the behavioral approach from the selection reinterpretation is different as it gives ideas from selected behaviors of people. Such behaviors are also responsible for the trends in society. According to Glenn (2004), the childbearing age for working-class individuals is significant factor in the weakening marriage rates as it is of significance in the marriage divide. For example, lower-class people are likely to have children in the middle and upper class as compared to their counterparts of low class. The fact that working-class members of society are less likely to be married also shows that they are more likely to have children outside the wedlock (Glenn, 2004). In other cases, divorce is another issue common among working-class individuals, as well as poor adults age between 18 to 55 (Wilcox & Wang, 2017). According to Wilcox and Wang (2017), Within the working class and poor men and women who were once married, more than 40% of them have been divorced at one time or the other.

Still focusing on the ABC terminology, the increasing rate of nonmarital child childbearing and divorce is affecting lower-class adults and working-class individuals. It leads to family instability and increases single parenthood for children born within low-income families. The vast majority of middle-class capital as teenagers grow up in families that are intact and where two biological parents are protecting them. The greater fragility of a family and marriage life is also an issue within low-income families that also translates to children who are not living with their biological parents. For those who have both of their parents, the children get their education and social stability from professional experiences (Biglan & Embry, 1995). According to Biglan and Embry (1995), experiences can help them in the future. Thus, children need to be raised with their biological parents (Biglan and Embry, 1995). Such children are likely to raise their children better as compared to single parents or step-parents. A stepfamily is also a significant feature of working-class and low-income families (Biglan & Embry, 1995).

In consideration to the impact of failed marriages on parenthood and young adults, different indicators have shown that the working class and poor individuals who are the Millennium age of between 28 to 34 years, has a high likelihood of having children outside marriage (Wilcox & Wang, 2017). This is contrary to the facts that are shown within the middle and upper-class meals. These upper-class millennials are likely to have successful marriages before they have children, and they have the ability to postpone parenthood altogether (Wilcox & Wang, 2017). The working-class millennials and poor people do not have the best strategies for controlling the childbearing process before the right age, while middle- and upper-class millennials are aware of their situation, and they are more likely to get married first (Wilcox & Wang, 2017).

Based on the ABC terminology defining the behavior changes, family structure can be an issue formed as a vital predictor cater, especially from the social Economic and psychological perspectives. Under the different sections of the terminology, there is a difference in marriage equality for people of different classes despite these differences, not having demographic differences noted within parenthood (Skinner, 1965). The share members of working-class and impoverished individuals who are married are likely to succeed if they have stable family structures. The divide in marriage and family is more visible when the homeless and immigrants in society are taken into consideration.

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