New York: Teenagers and young adults who expect to get married within the next five years reported committing fewer delinquent acts, found a new study, says IANS. The study, published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, shows that people straighten up their act even before they tie the knot. “This is a reminder that marriage still matters. Just the expectation of marriage may be enough to change some people’s behaviour,” said Claire Kamp Dush, Professor at The Ohio State University.
For the study, the researchers used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth which included 7,057 people who were 15 to 20 years old and studied for two years. The participants were asked to estimate the per cent chance that they would be married in five years. They were also asked whether they had committed certain delinquent acts — including property theft, personal assault, drug dealing and property destruction — since the last time they were interviewed for the study.
On average, participants in the first year thought there was a 43 per cent chance they would be married within five years, increasing to 48 per cent in the next year. The key finding was that young people with higher marital expectations in the first year had lower levels of delinquent activity in the next year.
However, the researchers did not find a link in the opposite direction — delinquent activity did not seem to be strongly associated with later marital expectations. “It seems that young people think of marital expectations independently of their current participation in delinquency or crime,” added Dush.