Marital Dissolution in Nepal: The Influence of Spouses’ Perceptions of Marital Dynamics

Elyse Jennings, University of Michigan

In rural Nepal, marriage is a highly valued institution, guided by social norms and religion. Each marriage has significance that reaches beyond the husband and wife to their extended families, raising the stakes for marital success. In fact, marital dissolutions have historically been mainly attributable to the death of a spouse, but dissolutions resulting from marital discord have been recently increasing. Because divorce is so rare and stigmatized, we might not expect marital conflict to lead to dissolution in this setting. Yet, the relationship between marital conflict and marital dissolution may have significant implications for the lives and well-being of women. Using wives’ and husbands’ reports of three types of conflict, I find that greater conflict does increase couples’ likelihood of marital dissolution, and that wives’ reports of verbal conflict, but not physical conflict, have an influence on the odds of marital dissolution that is independent of husbands’ reports.

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Presented in Poster Session 6