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Sociodemographic Status, Parental Background, Childhood Family Structure, and Attitudes toward Family Formation

Katherine Trent and Scott J. South
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 54, No. 2 (May, 1992), pp. 427-439
DOI: 10.2307/353074
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/353074
Page Count: 13
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Sociodemographic Status, Parental Background, Childhood Family Structure, and Attitudes toward Family Formation
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Abstract

Using the National Survey of Families and Households, we investigate effects of individual characteristics, parental background, and childhood living arrangements on adults' attitudes toward marriage, divorce, and nonmarital childbearing. The strongest predictors are age, sex, and marital status, with older persons, men, and married persons displaying more traditional attitudes. Higher parental socioeconomic status and maternal employment liberalize attitudes. Effects of childhood family structure are weak, but suggest that nontraditional family arrangements in childhood liberalize attitudes toward divorce and nonmarital fertility. Childhood family structure does not affect views on desirability of marriage. Respondents who never lived with biological fathers are less likely than others to disapprove of unmarried motherhood.

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