The Effect of Parental Separation on Young Adults’ Political and Civic Participation
- 620 Downloads
Whereas an extensive literature exists on the effect of parental separation on young adults’ health, well-being and educational attainment, relatively little is known about its effect on young adults’ political and civic engagement. The current paper aims to remedy this deficiency and explore to what extent parental separation affects young adults’ likelihood to vote and volunteer. Taking insights from the social learning and parental status theories, we argue that because of separated parents’ overall lower levels of political and civic engagement as well as socioeconomic status compared with parents who are living together, young adults with separated parents will be less likely to engage in political and civic life compared with those whose parents are living together. Using data from the Swiss Household Panel Survey (1999–2009), our analyses reveal in line with our expectations that parental separation has a negative effect on young adults’ voting and volunteering patterns. Supporting the social learning theory, this negative effect of parental divorce or separation can be partly explained by the lower levels of political and civic engagement among separated parents compared with parents who are living together.
KeywordsSeparation Divorce Young adults Voting frequency Volunteering
The authors are grateful to Laura Stoker for her valuable suggestions and the fruitful discussions. They would also like to thank Harry Chapman for his editorial help. This study uses data from the Swiss Household Panel (SHP), which is based at the Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences FORS. The SHP is financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).
- Andolina, M. W., Jenkins, K., Zukin, C., & Keeter, S. (2003). Habits from home, lessons from school: Influences on youth civic engagement. PS: Political Science and Politics, 36(2), 275–280.Google Scholar
- Bengtson, V. L., Biblarz, T. J., & Roberts, R. E. (2002). How families still matter: A longitudinal study of youth in two generations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- BFS. (2008a). Familien in der Schweiz: Statistischer Bericht 2008. Neuchâtel: BFS.Google Scholar
- BFS. (2008b). Freiwilligenarbeit in der Schweiz. Neuchâtel: BFS.Google Scholar
- BFS. (2011). Freiwilligenarbeit in der Schweiz 2010. Neuchâtel: BFS.Google Scholar
- Cohen, C., & Dawson, M. (1993). Neighborhood poverty and African-American politics. American Political Science Review, 95, 589–602.Google Scholar
- Erikson, R., & Goldthorpe, J. H. (1992). The constant flux: A study of class mobility in industrial societies. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
- Eurostat. (2011). Marriage and divorce statistics. http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php/Marriage_and_divorce_statistics. Accessed 1 May 2012.
- Havermans, N., Botterman, S., & Matthijs, K. (2014). Family resources as mediators in the relation between divorce and children’s school engagement. The Social Science Journal, Advance Online Publication. doi: 10.1016/j.soscij.2014.04.001.
- Helmig, B., Gmür, M., Bärlocher, C., Von Schnurbein, G., Degen, B., Nollert, M., et al. (2011). The Swiss civil society sector in a comparative perspective. VMI Research Series. Volume 6. Fribourg: Institute for Research on Management of Associations, Foundations and Cooperatives (VMI).Google Scholar
- Hener, T., Rainer, H., & Siedler, T. (2012). Political socialization in flux? Linking family non-intactness during childhood to adult civic engagement. CESifo Working Paper No. 3918. Munich: CESifo.Google Scholar
- Kroh, M. (2011). Fällt der Apfel immer weiter vom Stamm? Veränderungen der intergenerationalen Stabilität von Parteibindungen. PVS Sonderheft 2011 “Wählen in Deutschland”.Google Scholar
- Langton, K. (1969). Political socialization. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Lepkowski, J. M., & Couper, M. P. (2002). Nonresponse in the second wave of longitudinal household surveys. In R. M. Groves, D. A. Dillman, J. L. Eltinge, & R. J. Little (Eds.), Survey nonresponse. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Lipps, O. (2007). Attrition in the Swiss household panel. Methoden–Daten–Analysen, 1(1), 45–68.Google Scholar
- Lutz, G. (2012). Elections fédérales 2011: Participation et choix électoral. Lausanne: FORS.Google Scholar
- OECD. OECD better life index. http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org. Accessed 17 July 2014.
- Perry, L. S., & Associates. (2002). Short-term impacts, long-term opportunities: The political and civic engagement of young adults in America. http://www.civicyouth.org/research/products/National_Youth_Survey/summary.pdf.
- Prokic, T., & Dronkers, J. (2009). Parental divorce and attitudes about society of their children. Paper presented at the seventh meeting of the European network for sociological and demographic study of divorce, Antwerp, Belgium, June 25–26.Google Scholar
- Snijders, T. A. B., & Bosker, R. J. (1999). Multilevel analysis: An introduction to basic and advanced multilevel modeling. London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Stoop, I. A. L. (2005). The hunt for the last respondent: Nonresponse in sample surveys. The Hague: SCP.Google Scholar
- Verba, S., Schlozman, K. L., & Brady, H. E. (1995). Voice and equality: Civic volunteerism in American politics. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Verba, S., Schlozman, K. L., & Burns, N. (2005). Family ties: Understanding the intergenerational transmission of political participation. In A. S. Zuckerman (Ed.), The social logic of politics: Personal networks as contexts for political behavior (pp. 99–114). Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
- Voorpostel, M. (2010). Attrition in the Swiss household panel by demographic characteristics and levels of social involvement. Swiss Journal of Sociology, 36(2), 359–377.Google Scholar
- Wattenberg, M. P. (2007). Is voting for young people?. New York: Longman.Google Scholar
- Wilson, J., & Musick, M. (1998). The contribution of social resources to volunteering. Social Science Quarterly (University of Texas Press), 79(4), 799–814.Google Scholar
- Wuthnow, R. (1998). Loose connections: Joining together in America’s fragmented communities. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar