In the June 2015 Supreme Court ruling regarding same-sex marriages, the prevailing judges stated that “this Court’s cases and the Nation’s traditions make clear that marriage is a keystone of the Nation’s social order.” Reinforcing the concept of marriage’s fundamental role in the functioning of a healthy society, the World Congress of Families met recently in Salt Lake City, Utah. Several BYU College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences faculty members presented relevant research. Dr. Jason S. Carroll, a professor in the School of Family Life and a Fellow of the Wheatley Institution, was one of those.
The purpose of the Congress was to “bring together the finest scholars, government and religious leaders, healthcare professionals, and advocates to research, present, discuss, and promote facts and practices that support life and the natural family. In doing this, the WCF addresses trends affecting the family as well as a broad range of issues impacting the family, including human trafficking, child exploitation, pornography and addictions, health issues like clean water and access to medicine, and even family finances and management.” Professor Carrolll’s presentation focused on research that points to the fact that, overall, in the U.S., the median age of marriage is higher than the median age of child-bearing – which means that marriage is not just delayed, but re-sequenced. He outlined why this delay in marriage paradoxically leaves individuals less prepared for marriage, not more.
He and fellow presenter Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project, discussed studies that showed family structure is the best indicator of family income, the American dream, and child poverty. Research shows, they said, that: “there is a connection between marriage and societal prosperity.”
About his experience, Dr. Carroll said:
“Presenting at the WCF was different than presenting at an academic conference. There were speakers with a variety of backgrounds, but we received very positive feedback about our scholars panel plenary. Conference participants said they really valued the research and data foundation of our presentations.”
This research was also discussed in a report on TwentySomethingMarriage.org, and will be featured in an upcoming issue of the School of Family Life’s magazine Family Connections, to be released mid-December 2015. That issue will also present research regarding current divorce trends, and same-sex marriages, entitled “Gender Complementarity vs. Gender Irrelevance.”
Dr. Carroll is an internationally-recognized researcher and educator in the areas of marriage fragmentation, sexual intimacy, marriage readiness among young adults, the effectiveness of marriage education, and modern threats to marriage (such as pornography, delayed age at marriage, materialism, premarital sexuality, and non-marital childbirth). His work has been featured in the Economist, the New York Times, and other popular media and news outlets.
Dr. Carroll has authored dozens of scientific articles, book chapters, and pubic scholarship pieces; and has presented numerous papers at national and international conferences. He is a professional member of the International Association for Relationship Research (IARR) and the Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood (SSEA). Dr. Carroll’s research has appeared in leading scientific journals such as:
- the Journal of Family Psychology,
- Archives of Sexual Behavior,
- Journal of Sex Research,
- Aggressive Behavior,
- Journal of American College Health,
- and the Journal of Adolescent Research.
He recently authored a chapter entitled, “Marriage and Emerging Adulthood” in the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Emerging Adulthood and previously authored a chapter, entitled “Theorizing About Marriage” in the Sourcebook of Family Theories and Research. Most recently, Dr. Carroll was the research director and co-author of a highly publicized report entitled “Knot Yet: The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America” (www.twentysomethingmarriage.org) that was funded by the National Marriage Project, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, and the RELATE Institute.
Dr. Carroll served as a visiting scholar and was a research advisor for a national media campaign on healthy marriage targeting young adults that was conducted by the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center commissioned by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). In 2003, Dr. Carroll was commissioned by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to co-author a guiding report for the National Healthy Marriage Initiative entitled: A Comprehensive Framework for Marriage Education. Dr. Carroll currently serves on the editorial board for three journals: Emerging Adulthood, Family Relations, and the Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy. Dr. Carroll is also currently an Executive Research Associate of the RELATE Institute (www.relateinstitute.com) and the Senior Research Consultant for Fight the New Drug a youth-oriented, nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the harmful effects of pornography (www.FightTheNewDrug.org).
What academic or civil experiences have you had regarding these issues?
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