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Regular version of the site

Article

Trust, Responsibility, and Freedom: Focus­Group Research on Contemporary Patterns of Union Formation in Russia

Demographic Research. 2015. Vol. 32.

We intend to highlight gender and educational differences in perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of cohabitation vs marriages.  We conducted 8 focus groups in Moscow in January 2012 (4 with men, 4 with women, half with higher educated, the other half with lower educated). Trust between men and women was claimed by participants to underly the preferences for marriage or cohabitation. Religious beliefs of participants form a ‘three stages of union’ theory, expressed by them: cohabitation in the beginning, civil marriage later when trust becomes stronger, and finally a church wedding when trust becomes the highest. Values of responsibility, freedom, fidelity and trust form participants’ expressed ideals in union formation.   The   highest   level   of   trust   is   stated   to   be   highest   in proponents of marriage and in ideational cohabitors. People without strong   type   of   union   preferences   claim   to   have   lowest   level   of interpersonal trust.