Divorce divide, educational divide? The complex interaction between the educational level of parents and the family trajectories and educational attainment of children: testing the selection and differential coping and resource hypotheses

Nele Havermans, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Sofie Vanassche, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Koen Matthijs, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

The educational level of parents is associated with the chance of children to experience the dissolution of the parental marriage and subsequent post-divorce family transitions. Children with lower educated parents nowadays have a higher chance on experiencing a parental divorce then children with higher educated parents. Due to different coping mechanisms and resources, the association between parental divorce and the educational attainment of children could expect to be higher for children with lower educated parents. If specific family trajectories during childhood and youth effect educational outcomes of children differently in different social groups, family history functions as an important engine of social inequality. We use the data from the large-scale research project Divorce in Flanders to test 1) the selection hypothesis of lower educated groups into family trajectories characterized by family dissolutions, 2) resource deprivation and increased stress as explanation for the association between family trajectories and educational outcomes and 3) the idea of differential copings strategies and resources within lower educated families to deal with those family transitions. Using a life course perspective, we look at both the nature and duration of specific family configurations and the nature and timing of specific family transitions.

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Presented in Poster Session 1