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Morgan, S. Philip (1986). On Identifying Determinants of a Divorce in a Divorcing Population: Comments on Rankin and Maneker. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 48(3), 673-675.


In the February 1985 issue of JMF, Rankin and Maneker (R-M, hereafter) examine the link between divorce and the presence of children. The link is an important one because theory suggests that children provide additional bonds that make marriages more stable (see Becker et al., 1977). If so, current trends toward later or less childbearing may help explain the increasing incidence of divorce. Others argue that young children create a crisis that may threaten marital stability (see LeMasters, 1957). Unfortunately, the R-M analysis has a fundamental design flaw that produces a set of artifactual findings. This design flaw also exists in other commonly cited studies of this link between divorce and the presence of children (see Chester, 1972; Gibson, 1980). Specifically, these analyses focus only on divorced couples. The flaws in this research strategy and the erroneous conclusions it produces are described below.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Marriage and the Family


Morgan, S. Philip