Family Effects on Family Formation

Faculty/Professorship: Demography  
Faculty/Professorship: State Institute for Family Research at the University of Bamberg (ifb)  
Author(s): Raab, Marcel  
Publisher Information: Bamberg : opus
Year of publication: 2015
Pages: 166 ; Illustrationen, Diagramme
Supervisor(s): Engelhardt-Wölfler, Henriette ; Buchholz, Sandra
Year of first publication: 2014
Language(s): English
Bamberg, Univ., kumulative Diss., 2014
Licence: Creative Commons - CC BY-NC - Attribution - NonCommercial 3.0 International 
URN: urn:nbn:de:bvb:473-opus4-258387
Abstract – Study 01
Research about parent effects on family behavior focuses on intergenerational transmission: whether children show the same family behavior as their parents. This potentially overemphasizes similarity and obscures heterogeneity in parent effects on family behavior. In this study we make two contributions. First, instead of focusing on isolated focal events, we conceptualize parents’ and their children’s family formation holistically as the process of union formation and childbearing between age 15 and age 40. We then discuss mechanisms likely to shape these intergenerational patterns. Second, beyond estimating average transmission effects, we innovatively apply multichannel sequence analysis to dyadic sequence data on middle class American families from the Longitudinal Study of Generations (LSOG, N=461 parent-child dyads). The results show three salient intergenerational family formation patterns among this population: a strong transmission, a moderated transmission, and an intergenerational contrast pattern. We examine what determines parents’ and children’s likelihood to sort into a specific intergenerational pattern. For middle class American families, educational upward mobility is a strong predictor of moderated intergenerational transmission, whereas parent-child conflict increases the likelihood of intergenerational contrast in family formation. We conclude that intergenerational patterns of family formation are generated at the intersection of macro structural change and family internal psychological dynamics

Abstract – Study 02
Sibling studies have been widely used to analyze the impact of family background on socioeconomic and, to a lesser extent, demographic outcomes. We contribute to this literature with a novel research design that combines sibling comparisons and sequence analysis to analyze longitudinal family formation trajectories of siblings and unrelated persons. This allows us to scrutinize in a more rigorous way, whether there is sibling similarity in family formation trajectories and if siblings’ shared background characteristics, such as parental education and early childhood family structure can account for similarity in family formation. We use Finnish register data from 1987 until 2007 to construct longitudinal family formation trajectories in young adulthood for siblings and unrelated dyads (N=14,257 dyads). Findings show that siblings’ family formation is moderately but significantly more similar than for unrelated dyads, also after controlling for crucial parental background characteristics. Shared parental background characteristics add surprisingly little to account for sibling similarity in family formation. Instead, gender and the respondents’ own education are more decisive forces in the stratification of family formation. Yet family internal dynamics seem to reinforce this stratification, such that siblings have a higher probability to experience similar family formation patterns. Particularly patterns that go along with economic disadvantage are concentrated within families. This is in line with a growing body of research highlighting the importance of family structure in the reproduction of social inequality.

Abstract – Study 03
This study investigated the association between childhood living arrangements and early family formation in Germany. Drawing on persisting socio-environmental differences between East and West Germany the author addressed the question whether the association of childhood family structure and the early transition to adulthood varies in different societal contexts. In line with research from other countries, the analysis based on data from the German Family Panel (pairfam/DemoDiff; N = 3643) showed that children from non-traditional family structures experience important demographic transitions faster than children who have been raised by both biological parents. In addition to this rather ubiquitous association, the study revealed considerable context-specific differences, which point to the long-term consequences of the post-war separation of East and West Germany. First, although increasing in relevance, family structure was less predictive for early family formation in East Germany. Second, the results indicated that the link between childhood family structure and the reproduction of social inequality, which has been found in many studies from the US, could only be replicated for West Germany. In East Germany, educational attainment did not mediate the effect of childhood living arrangements on early family formation, nor was it associated with an increased probability of ever having lived in an alternative family structure.
GND Keywords: Deutschland; Familienbildung; Eltern
DDC Classification: 300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology  
RVK Classification: MS 1900   
Type: Doctoralthesis
Year of publication: 2. October 2015
Awards: Promotionspreis der Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg 

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