Abstract

We investigate the influence of parents’ marital dissolutions on their children’s attitudes toward several dimensions of family formation. Hypotheses focus on the role of parents’ attitudes as a mechanism linking parents’ behavior to their children’s attitudes. We test these hypotheses using intergenerational panel data that include measures of parents’ attitudes taken directly from parents and measures of children’s attitudes taken directly from children. Results demonstrate strong effects of parental divorce, remarriage, and widowhood on children’s attitudes toward premarital sex, cohabitation, marriage. childbearing, and divorce. The results also show that parents’ own attitudes link their behavior to their children’s attitudes, although substantial effects of parental behavior remain after controlling for parents’ attitudes.

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