Family of Origin Structure and Instability and the Formation of First Unions

Claire M Kamp Dush, Cornell University

This project will examine the role of childhood family structure in union formation using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. This study extends previous research by more fully measuring childhood family structure. Family structure experiences included stable married parent families, stable cohabiting families, and stable single-parent families. Thirty-seven percent of offspring experienced between 1 and 10 transitions in childhood family structure including transitions in and out of married families as well as cohabiting families. Using event history techniques, the childhood family structure variables, including family type, number of transitions, and type of transition, will be considered in relation to the offspring’s age at and type of first union. It is expected that offspring from unstable families, offspring who experience more transitions, and offspring who experience the dissolution of their mothers’ marital and cohabiting relationships will enter unions at younger ages and be more likely to enter into informal unions.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Family, Households, Unions; Data, Methods, Study Design