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Family Structure and Home-Leaving: A Further Specification of the Relationship

William S. Aquilino
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 53, No. 4 (Nov., 1991), pp. 999-1010
DOI: 10.2307/353003
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/353003
Page Count: 12
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Family Structure and Home-Leaving: A Further Specification of the Relationship
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Abstract

This article investigates the impact of childhood family structure on the timing of home-leaving. Data from the 1988 National Survey of Families and Households suggest that exposure to most forms of nonintact family living situations during childhood substantially raises the likelihood of home-leaving prior to age 19. Adopted children and children who lived in nonparental situations (such as with relatives, with foster parents, or in institutions) were the most likely of all children to leave the nest prior to age 19. Among early home-leavers, family structure also influenced the pathway out of the parental home. Children from single-parent, stepparent, and adoptive families, and those who experienced nonparental living situations, were more likely than children from intact families to establish an independent household after leaving and less likely to leave to attend school. A number of significant interactions of sex by family structure were found. Girls who acquired a stepparent and stepsiblings were more likely to establish early residential independence than girls from intact families. This was not true for boys. In general, the pattern of interactions suggests that variations in childhood family structure exerted a greater influence on girls' than on boys' home-leaving patterns.

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