Understanding the Mechanisms behind the Intergenerational Transmission of Partnership Dissolution and Multi-Partner Fertility: A Lifecourse Approach.

Sebastian Stannard , University of Southampton
Ann M. Berrington, University of Southampton
Nisreen Alwan , University of Southampton

A significant body of research has examined the intergenerational transmission of divorce and separation risk and has begun to examine the transmission of multi-partner fertility. However, there is limited evidence as to the life course pathways and mechanisms through which these associations operate, or whether these relationships differ by gender. This paper makes an important contribution by examining, using the 1970 British Cohort Study, the intergenerational transmission of both partnership dissolution and multi-partner fertility. Stratifying our analyses by gender, we create a series of nested multinomial logistic regression models to investigate the potential mediators through which parental separation/parental multi-partner fertility experienced prior to age 10 are associated with dissolution/multi-partner fertility in adulthood. Formal mediation analysis (using Karlson, Holm & Breen, 2012) enable us to break down the total effect of parental separation/parental multi-partner fertility into the direct effect and an indirect effect through seven mediators: family socioeconomic status, maternal gender role attitudes, maternal mental wellbeing, child cognition, child behaviour, child locus of control and highest academic achievement in adulthood. Adjusting for parental confounders, and for the mediators, parental separation remains associated with coresidential dissolution in adulthood, especially for women. KHB analyses indicated that mediating variables accounted for more of this association for men than women. The strongest mediators were child cognition and child behaviour for men, and maternal attitudes and mental wellbeing for women. Childhood socio-economic status was a strong mediator for both genders. The next step will be to present results for multi-partner fertility which will be completed shortly.

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 Presented in Session 112. Intergenerational Linkages across the Life Course