College students more eager for marriage than parents
College students think 25 years old is the "right age" to get married, while a majority of parents feel it is still a little too soon, a new study has found.
"The assumption has been that the younger generation wants to delay marriage and parents are hassling them about when they would get married. We actually found the opposite, that the parental generation is showing the 'slow down' mindset more than the young adults," said Brian Willoughby, a professor at Brigham Young University and lead author of the study.
Willoughby and his co-authors in BYU's School of Family Life gathered info from 536 college students and their parents from five college campuses around the country (BYU was not in the sample).
The scholars found the hesitation is consistent across gender.
"Initially we thought that this might be dads wanting their daughters to delay marriage. Moms and dads trended together and #65533; gender wasn't a factor," Willoughby said.
One of the driving forces behind parents' restraint is the feeling that their children should get an education first. While they generally feel marriage is important, parents think the "right age" is one year older than what their children say.
Excluding teen marriages, research doesn't support the notion that there is an optimal time to tie the knot.
"I think parents have a lot of fear for their kids that makes them want to delay the transitions to adulthood," Willoughby said.
According to Census data, the median age for first marriages is 27.
Willoughby said that what people say is the "right age" generally comes a few years before the actual marriage age.
"What happens is that someone thinks that 25 is when they want to get married. So at age 25, they start changing their patterns around dating, and it takes two or so years to make the transition," Willoughby said.
The study appeared in The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.