The Intergenerational Transmission of Divorce: A Longitudinal Look at Siblings

Robin S. Hognas, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Jason R. Thomas, University of Wisconsin-Madison

A large literature shows that those whose parents divorced are at a significantly higher risk of themselves divorcing compared to adult children whose parents did not divorce. While this finding has been replicated numerous times, more rigorous tests have focused on the intergenerational transmission of divorce among siblings. Although these studies are informative, they have nevertheless relied on cross-sectional, retrospective data. We address this problem by using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to examine differences in the intergenerational transmission of divorce among siblings. By following families over time and tracking changes in the structure and characteristics of the families in which children are raised, we are able to identify the pathways through which parental relationship transitions affect the relationship stability of their offspring. This study stands to improve our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the links between parents’ and offspring’s relationship patterns.

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Presented in Poster Session 5