Document Type



Cohabitation is becoming an increasingly common stage in courtship, especially for college students. Two hundred college students, with a mean age of 20.23 years, participated in an examination of the perceptions of cohabitation among students in this age group. Men and women were equally represented and randomly assigned to read one of four scenario conditions, varying by the living situation prior to marriage and by the quality of the marital relationship. Results indicated that college students perceived couples who had cohabitated prior to marriage as happier when compared to couples who had not cohabitated prior to marriage. Although results revealed that participants gender did not effect their perceptions of the scenario couple's level of commitnent or happiness, it was found that participants with more favorable attitudes toward marriage perceived the scenario couples as happier, regardless of the quallty of their relationship. Furthermore, the increase of non-traditional values as a causal factor of premarital cohabitation is discussed.