What are the risks, for children, of family disruption? European comparisons

Didier Breton, Université de Strasbourg and Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
France Prioux, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

This study applies an original approach by adopting the child's standpoint to measure changes in the risk of family disruption (i.e. parental breakup) by child's age and cohort, and to identify the parental characteristics associated with the highest risk of childhood exposure to disruption. Data from the GGS surveys conducted in the 2000s in several European countries can be used for these analyses as they include complete family event histories of adult respondents (birth of children, union formation and separation). Pursuing research already carried out in France, then extended to Russia, we broaden the comparison to other European countries in the Generations and Gender programme (Austria, Norway, Netherlands, and possibly Germany) to identify the countries where the risk of childhood exposure to parental separation is highest, and to see whether the characteristics of the most unstable parental couples are shared across countries. In particular, we want to find out whether differences between married and unmarried parents are narrowing, and whether the effect of educational level is identical in all countries. The risk of disruption by age and cohort is calculated by means of longitudinal and/or cross-sectional analysis. We then model the risk of disruption before certain ages (5 years then 10 years) using a logistic regression to verify the effect of the various characteristics of the parental couple, all other things being equal.

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Presented in Session 72: Union dissolution