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American Sociological Association: 2002 Press Release
ASA Press Releases
Contact: Jackie Cooper or Lee Herring
Phone: (202) 247-9871
August 13, 2002
Sex, Intimacy, and Family Life in the United States:
A Study Examines How Intimate Relationships Are Formed
Chicago, IL – Major social changes over the past 50 years in the United States have profoundly reshaped how intimate unions are formed. As sexual ties have increasingly become decoupled from marriage, the nature and formation of relationships have taken on new forms and meaning—with significant implications for different subgroups in the population, and for the quality of life in general.
These are some of the findings from research conducted by Professor Edward O. Laumann, Jenna Mahay, and Yoosik Youm of the University of Chicago that will be presented at a session of the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association in Chicago on August 16, 2002. The conclusions are drawn from analyses of data from the 1992 National Health and Social Life Survey (NHSLS) and the 1995 Chicago Health and Social Life Survey (CHSLS).
Among other study findings are these:
The authors argue that in order to better understand the dynamics of how relationships are formed, researchers must broaden their perspective to include singlehood status and dating relationships—an approach especially important for accounting for the growing discrepancies in the formation of unions among African Americans, Hispanics, and whites.
Laumann is the author of several major works on the subject of sex, love, and health, including a two-volume book, The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States, and Sex in America (both published in 1994), and coeditor with Robert T. Michael of Sex, Love, and Health in America (2000)—all published by the University of Chicago Press.
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