Sociology Index


Heterogamy, which is a marriage between two individuals who are culturally different. Heterogamy is contrasted with Homogamy, which is marriage between partners who are culturally similar. Heterogamy and homogamy have come to be used to describe marriage or union between people of unlike and like, sex and gender. Age heterogamy has come to refer to marriages involving partners of significantly different ages. Intermarriage bridges different social groups. Status heterogamy equalizes to certain degree different social statuses, undermining the hierarchy of social status. Heterogamy is a synonym of anisogamy, the condition of having differently sized male and female gametes produced by different sexes or mating types in a species. Heterogamy and homogamy are also used to describe marriage between people of same or different gender.

Ethnic heterogamy occurs in marriages involving individuals of different ethnic group and ethnic identity. In reproductive biology, heterogamy is the alternation of differently organized generations, applied to the alternation between parthenogenetic and a sexual generation. This type of heterogamy occurs aphids. In botany, a plant is heterogamous when it carries at least two different types of flowers in regard to their reproductive structures, for example male and female flowers or bisexual and female flowers.

Because people involved in or influenced by status heterogamy tend to avoid the non-institutionalized conflict caused by status heterogamy. The findings show that status heterogamy undermines the heterogamous couples' social participation, but promotes their liberal political attitude. - Zhang, Xiaotian. "Status Heterogamy: A Marginalized Equalizer in Stratification."

Migration and Marriage: Heterogamy and Homogamy in a Changing World. Barbara Waldis, Reginald Byron.
The rate of intermarriage is considered by sociologists the most important statistical test of the strength or weakness of structural divisions within societies. What do social anthropologists have to say about heterogamy and homogamy in situations of movement and flux, and what does this tell us about processes of boundary-definition?
Heterophily leads to heterogamy and Homophily leads to homogamy.

Marital Satisfaction and Religious Heterogamy
A Comparison of Interchurch and Same-Church Individuals
Lee M. Williams, Michael G. Lawler.
Abstract: The relationship between marital satisfaction and religious heterogamy was dependent on how religious heterogamy was operationalized. Parenting variables were also predictive of marital satisfaction for both interchurch and same-church respondents. - Journal of Family Issues.

Social Integration, Heterogeneity, and Divorce: The Case of the Swedish-speaking Population in Finland - Fjalar Finnäs.
The study compared marital stability in Finland with focus on the two language groups. The divorce rate was remarkably lower among the Swedish-speaking minority than among the Finnish-speaking majority. A hypothesis that marital homogamy rather than heterogamy reduces the divorce rate found support only with respect to the language of the spouses but not with respect to level of education or age.

Religious Heterogamy and Relationship Stability: A Comparison of Married and Cohabiting Unions. - Richard J. Petts, Ball State University. Abstract: Many studies have explored dynamics within religiously heterogamous marriages, but little is known about religiously heterogamous cohabiting unions. This study examines the influence of religious heterogamy on union stability among married and cohabiting couples. Religious heterogamy is more common in cohabiting unions than marriages. The risk of separation is higher for religiously heterogamous cohabiting unions than religiously heterogamous marriages. There is evidence showing that some religiously heterogamous cohabiting couples have a higher risk of relationship dissolution than religious heterogamous married couples due to lower relationship quality.

Educational heterogamy and marital satisfaction between spouses ?
Sheryl R Tynes - Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Trinity University, USA.
Abstract: In choosing marriage partners, we generally look for someone with similar status characteristics to our own. This paper suggests that status inequalities may be hypothesized to make a difference in marital satisfaction. Using ordinary least-squares regression, we found that when husbands had more education than their wives, both partners reported less than happy marriages with more disagreement and less positive feedback. Conversely, when the wife had more education, both partners reported more satisfaction with the marriage.

The consequences of heterogamy and homogamy on the similarity between spouses. - Tomlinson I.
Abstract: Humans in many societies are known to mate, or marry, assortatively for a number of characters such as eye colour, height, IQ and place of birth. In this assortment an element of active choice may be involved. It is not known whether this choice is genetic.

Sociocultural Heterogamy, Dissensus, and Conflict in Marriage
Stephen R. Jorgensen, David M. Klein.
Abstract: Hypotheses relating differences in husband-wife backgrounds, or sociocultural heterogamy, to marital disagreement over role expectations, marital values, and marital conflict are empirically tested and found to be unsupported. Three alternative hypotheses are presented and tested in an attempt to shed light on the general lack of association between heterogamy and the dissensus-conflict variables, including a developmental extension of heterogamy theory (controlling for years married), an overall heterogamy index, and an examination of the direction of heterogamy (hypogamy vs. hypergamy). These tests yield virtually no support for heterogamy theory. In light of these findings regarding the predictions of heterogamy theory, arguments which might account for the overall lack of support are presented and discussed.