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Broken Homes: Stable Risk, Changing Reasons, Changing Forms

Dorrian Apple Sweetser
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 47, No. 3 (Aug., 1985), pp. 709-715
DOI: 10.2307/352272
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/352272
Page Count: 7
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Broken Homes: Stable Risk, Changing Reasons, Changing Forms
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Abstract

A merged sample of eight of the General Social Surveys provided the data for analyzing stability and change in childhood homes since the beginning of the century. Cohort membership and two measures of social disadvantage were used as explanatory variables in analysis of the risk of growing up in a broken home and of the living arrangements of children with broken homes. The risk of a broken home by age 16 proved to be stable across cohorts and greater for those from disadvantaged homes. Stability of the risk arose from the balance between homes broken by parental death and homes broken by divorce or separation. Across cohorts mothers were the chief homemaking parents in broken homes and, except among nonwhites, this proportion increased. Fathers were remarried more often than mothers, although mothers in more advantaged homes were increasingly more likely to be remarried. Stepfathers came to outnumber stepmothers in later cohorts.

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