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Glenn, Norval D.; Uecker, Jeremy E.; & Love, Robert W. B., Jr. (2010). Later First Marriage and Marital Success. Social Science Research, 39(5), 787-800. PMCID: PMC3437253


The research reported here used measures of marital success based on both marital survival and marital quality to assess how well first marriages entered at relatively late ages fare in comparison with those entered younger. Analysis of data from five American data sets indicated that the later marriages fare very well in survival but rather poorly in quality. The greatest indicated likelihood of being in an intact marriage of the highest quality is among those who married at ages 22–25, net of the estimated effects of time since first marriage and several variables that might commonly affect age at marriage and marital outcomes. The negative relationship beyond the early to mid-twenties between age at marriage and marital success is likely to be at least partially spurious, and thus it would be premature to conclude that the optimal time for first marriage for most persons is ages 22–25. However, the findings do suggest that most persons have little or nothing to gain in the way of marital success by deliberately postponing marriage beyond the mid-twenties.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Social Science Research


Glenn, Norval D.
Uecker, Jeremy E.
Love, Robert W. B., Jr.