Demography

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 299–318 | Cite as

Parental divorce in childhood and demographic outcomes in young adulthood

  • Andrew J. Cherlin
  • Kathleen E. Kiernan
  • P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale
Intergenerational Relations

Abstract

We investigated the long-term effects of parental divorce in childhood on demographic outcomes in young adulthood, using a British longitudinal national survey of children. Our analyses control for predisruption characteristics of the child and the family, including emotional problems, cognitive’ achievement, and socioeconomic status. The results show that by age 23, those whose parents divorced were more likely to leave home because of friction, to cohabit, and to have a child outside marriage than were those whose parents did not divorce. Young adults whose parents divorced, however, were no more or less likely to marry or to have a child in a marriage. Moreover, even in the divorced group, the great majority did not leave home because of friction or have a child outside marriage.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Allison, P.D. and F.F. Furstenberg Jr. 1989. “How Marital Dissolution Affects Children: Variations by Age and Sex.” Developmental Psychology 25:540–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Amato, P. and B. Keith. 1991. “Parental Divorce and Adult Well-Being: A Meta-Analysis.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 53:43–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aro, H.M. and U.K. Palosaari. 1992. “Parental Divorce, Adolescence, and Transition to Young Adulthood: A Follow-Up Study.” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 62:421–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baydar, N. 1988. “Effects of Parental Separation and Re-entry into Union on the Emotional Well-Being of Children.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 50:967–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Block, J.H., J. Block, and P.F. Gjerde. 1986. “The Personality of Children Prior to Divorce: A Prospective Study.” Child Development 57:827–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bollen, K. 1989. Structural Equations with Latent Variables. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  7. British National Children’s Bureau. 1987. The Fourth Follow-Up of the National Child Development Study: An Account of the Methodology and Summary of Early Findings. London: Social Statistics Research Unit, City University.Google Scholar
  8. Caspi, A., G.H. Elder Jr., and D.J. Bem. 1987. “Moving against the World: Life-Course Patterns of Explosive Children.” Developmental Psychology 23:308–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chase-Lansdale, P.L., A.J. Cherlin, and K.E. Kiernan. Forthcoming. “The Long-Term Effects of Parental Divorce on the Mental Health of Young Adults: A Developmental Perspective.” Child Development.Google Scholar
  10. Cherlin, A. 1977. “The Effect of Children on Marital Dissolution.” Demography 14:265–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cherlin, A. and F.F. Furstenberg Jr. 1988. “The Changing European Family: Lessons for the American Reader.” Journal of Family Issues 9:291–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cherlin, A.J., F.F. Furstenberg Jr., P.L. Chase-Lansdale, K.E. Kiernan, P.K. Robins, D.R. Morrison, and J.O. Teitler. 1991. “Longitudinal Studies of Effects of Divorce on Children in Great Britain and the United States.” Science 252 (June 7):1386–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cox, D.R. 1972. “Regression Models and Life Tables.” Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series B 26:103–10.Google Scholar
  14. Elliott, M. and M.P.M. Richards. 1991. “Children and Divorce: Educational Performance and Behaviour Before and After Parental Separation.” International Journal of Law and the Family 4:258–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Furstenberg, F.F. Jr., and J.O. Teitler. 1994. “Reconsidering the Effects of Marital Disruption: What Happens to Children of Divorce in Early Adulthood?” Journal of Family Issues 15:173–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ghilagaber, G. 1993. “Family Initiation among Swedish Males Born 1936–1964: The Choice between Marriage and Cohabitation.” Stockholm Research Reports in Demography 77. Stockholm: University of Stockholm.Google Scholar
  17. Goldscheider, F.K. and C. Goldscheider. 1989. “Family Structure and Conflict: Nest-Leaving Expectations of Young Adults and Their Parents.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 51:87–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. — 1993. Leaving Home before Marriage: Ethnicity, Familism, and Generational Relationships. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  19. Heckman, J. 1979. “Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error.” Econometrica 47:153–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hetherington, E.M. 1972. “Effects of Father Absence on Personality Development in Adolescent Daughters.” Developmental Psychology 7:313–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hetherington, E. M., and W. G. Clingempeel. 1992. Coping with Marital Transitions. Chicago: Society for Research in Child Development.Google Scholar
  22. Joreskog, K.G. and D. Sorbom. 1989. Lisrel 7 User’s Reference Guide. Mooresville, IN: Scientific Software, Inc.Google Scholar
  23. Kiernan, K.E. 1988. “The British Family: Contemporary Trends and Issues.” Journal of Family Issues 9:298–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. — 1992. “The Impact of Family Disruption in Childhood on Transitions Made in Young Adult Life.” Population Studies 46:213–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kiernan, K.E. and P.L. Chase-Lansdale. 1993. “Children and Marital Breakdown: Short- and Long-Term Consequences.” Pp. 295–308 in European Population, vol. II: Demographic Dynamics, edited by A. Blum and J.-L. Rallu. London: John Libby.Google Scholar
  26. Kiernan, K.E. and V. Estaugh. 1993. Cohabitation, Extra-Marital Childbearing and Social Policy. London: Family Policy Studies Centre.Google Scholar
  27. Liefbroer, A.C., M. Corijn, and J. de Jong Gierveld. 1993. “Similarity and Diversity in the Onset of Family Formation in the Low Countries.” Presented at the European Science Foundation Conference, Schloss Ringberg, Germany.Google Scholar
  28. Maddala, G.S. 1983. Limited Dependent and Qualitative Variables in Econometrics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Manski, C.F., G.D. Sandefur, S. McLanahan, and D. Powers. 1992. “Alternative Estimates of the Effect of Family Structure during Adolescence on High School Graduation,” Journal of the American Statistical Association 87:25–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. McLanahan, S. and L. Bumpass. 1988. “Intergenerational Consequences of Family Disruption.” American Journal of Sociology 94:130–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. McLanahan, S., and G. Sandefur. 1994. Growing Up with a Single Parent: What Hurts, What Helps. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  32. McLeod, J.D. 1991. “Childhood Parental Loss and Adult Depression.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 32:205–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mitchell, B.A., A.V. Wister, and T.K. Burch. 1989. “The Family Environment and Leaving the Parental Home.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 51:605–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Newcomer, S. and J.R. Udry. 1987. “Parental Marital Status Effects on Adolescent Sexual Behavior.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 49:235–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Office of Population Censuses and Surveys. 1990. Marriage and Divorce Statistics, 1837–1983, England and Wales. Series FM2, No. 16. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.Google Scholar
  36. Pringle, M.F.K. 1965. “Southgate Group Reading Tests.” pp. 812–13 in The Sixth Mental Measurements Yearbook, edited by O.K. Buros. Highland Park, NJ: Gryphon Press.Google Scholar
  37. Pringle, M.F.K., N. Butler, and R. Davie. 1966. 11,000 Seven Year Olds. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  38. Rindfuss, R.R. and J.A. Sweet. 1977. Postwar Fertility Trends and Differentials in the United States. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  39. Rutter, M., J. Tizard, and K. Whitmore, eds. 1970. Education, Health, and Behaviour. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  40. Shepherd, P.M. 1985. The National Child Development Study: An Introduction to the Background of the Study and the Methods of Data Collection. London: Social Statistics Research Unit, City University.Google Scholar
  41. Southgate, V. 1962. Southgate Group Reading Tests: Manual of Instructions. London: University of London.Google Scholar
  42. Stolzenberg, R.M. and D. RelIes. 1990. “Theory Testing in a World of Constrained Research Design.” Sociological Methods and Research 18:395–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Stott, D.H. 1969. The Social Adjustment of Children. London: University of London Press.Google Scholar
  44. Thornton, A. 1991. “Influence of the Marital History of Parents on the Marital and Cohabitational Experiences of Children.” American Journal of Sociology 96:868–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. U.S. National Center for Health Statistics. 1978. Divorces and Divorce Rates: United States. Vital and Health Statistics, Series 21, No. 29. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  46. —. 1984. “Advance Report of Final Divorce Statistics”, 1981. Monthly Vital Statistics Report 32, No.9, Supplement (2). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  47. Wadsworth, M., M. Mclean, D. Kuh, and B. Rodgers. 1990. “Children of Divorced and Separated Parents: Summary and Review of Findings from a Long-Term Follow-up in the U.K.” Family Practice 7:104–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wallerstein, J.S. and S. Blakeslee. 1989. Second Chances. New York: Ticknor and Fields.Google Scholar
  49. Young, C. 1987. Leaving Home in Australia. Melbourne: Australian National University and Australian Institute of Family Studies.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Population Association of America 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew J. Cherlin
    • 1
  • Kathleen E. Kiernan
    • 2
  • P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale
    • 3
  1. 1.Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.London School of Economics and Political ScienceLondonUK
  3. 3.Harris Graduate School of Public Policy StudiesUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations