What Are LAT Relationships? Conceptualizing LAT Relationships Among Older Adults

Huijing Wu , Bowling Green State University

This study investigated living apart together (LAT) relationships in older adulthood by using data from the 2011 Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS). Scant research in the United States has examined LAT relationships, particularly using quantitative data. This study constructed an innovative, new measure of LAT relationships in later life. First, I conceptualized LAT relationships by using a set of questions about dating behaviors, relationship features, and demographic characteristics in older adulthood. Second, I examined expectations of cohabitation and marriage to assess whether LAT relationships are a new family form, distinctive from cohabitation and marriage. Nearly all LATs (93%) reported no expectations to either cohabit or marry, reinforcing the notion that LAT relationships are a distinctive family form in older adulthood.

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 Presented in Session 45. Cohabitation and Nonmarital Relationships