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Session Overview
RN13_02a_P: Couples, Cohabitation and Family Forms II
Wednesday, 30/Aug/2017:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Gerhard Jost, Vienna University of Economics and Business; Institute for Sociology and Social Research
Session Chair: Dan Grabowski, Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen
Location: PD.2.34
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: D, Level: 2.

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Parenting Outside Marriage in Spain: The Changing Profile of Cohabiting and Unpartnered Mothers

Teresa Castro-Martin1, Clara Cortina2, Benoit Laplante3

1CSIC, Spain; 2Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain; 3Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Canada

Fertility research is increasingly centered on the role that family change, new union formation patterns and partnership instability might play on fertility trends. In the case of Spain, very low fertility levels (less than 1.4 since 1989) have been reached in a context of increasing childbearing within cohabiting unions (31% of total births in 2014) but also outside co-residential partnerships (12% of total births in 2014). In this paper, we examine nonmarital childbearing patterns and trends in Spain, distinguishing between births to cohabiting parents and births to unpartnered mothers. We use all birth records between 2007 and 2015 (about 4 million births), 2001 and 2011 Census, the Population Register and the Continuous Household Survey. We estimate age-specific fertility rates by women’s union status (married, cohabiting, unpartnered) and their contribution to total fertility. We also compare the socio-demographic profile of married, cohabiting and unpartnered mothers, in order to assess whether the traditionally negative educational gradient in nonmarital childbearing has waned or reversed. Finally, we examine to what extent mothers’ union status is associated with newborns’ health disadvantage –measured through low birth weight–, employing multinomial regression models. We distinguish whether or not unpartnered mothers declare father’s information in the birth registration. The declaration of paternal information can be used as a proxy for father’s legal recognition of the child and as an indication that the newborn’s parents maintain some kind of relationship, even if they do not live together.

Are Children a reason to marry? A comparative study of France, Germany and Hungary

Nicolai Patrick Groepler1, Johannes Huinink2, Timo Peter2

1Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany; 2University of Bremen, Germany

Our paper aims at describing and explaining differences in marriage patterns among cohabiting couples in three European societies with a conservative welfare regime, yet diverging institutional and structural features: France, Germany and Hungary [themes RN13_a, RN13_b, RN13_c]. In particular, we investigate to what extent fertility increases cohabiting couples’ propensity to marry in each country and whether couples get married primarily during pregnancy or after childbirth. Based on a discussion of relevant cross-national differences regarding the legal status of unmarried and married couples, family policy, cultural norms and labor market characteristics, we develop hypotheses linking these societal differences to marital behavior.

To test our hypotheses, we use longitudinal data from the Generations and Gender Survey (GGS) for France and Hungary and from the German Family Panel (pairfam) for Germany. To ensure comparability, a number of relevant covariates were harmonized in order to control for potential confounders which may affect the fertility process as well as marriage formation. Using discrete-time event history analysis, we observe robust differences in the effects of fertility on the marriage rate between the three countries. Pregnancy increases the incidence of marriage in Germany and Hungary, whereas no significant effect of fertility is found for France. After childbirth, the transition rate drops to its original level in Germany or in the case of Hungary even below that. These findings point to the critical role of the societal context, which couples take into consideration when making decisions in their private lives. Especially the extensive provision of public childcare in France appears to provide mothers with a high degree of economic autonomy allowing couples to choose their preferred family form with fewer constraints.

Love and Money - The Distribution of Power in Intimate Relationships

Anna Stenpaß

University of Hamburg, Germany

Over the last decades, there has been a change in intimate relationships. There are higher divorce rates and new forms of relationships, such as cohabiting or living apart together-relationships. Nevertheless intimate relationships are one of the most important social relationships in people’s life.

The study examines the distribution of power within heterosexual relationships in Germany. Based on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP), covering the years 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2012, a secondary analysis was conducted. To identify the influence of personal income on power distributions, the data is examined in light of cooperative-bargaining-models as well as gender-role-attitudes.

According to the cooperative-bargaining-model, power is influenced by individual resources, especially the personal income. Gender role theories, most notably assumptions of socialization, assume that individual behavior depends on norms and attitudes which were internalized during childhood.

Two dimensions of power will be measured: implementing power, defined as the control over income and orchestration power, defined as decision-making. It can be assumed that the increase in women’s employment status led to a change in inter-household-relationships. It is hypothesized that factors like the employment level, marital status, the duration of the relationship, as well as children have an influence on power distributions as well.

Hybrid logistic regression models (N=11.540) are used to empirically test for evidence of various determinants. The results show differences between the power bases. Especially the personal income does not influence the distribution of power as strong as supposed. Instead, household income, gender stereotypes as well as role attitudes, seem to affect power distributions in intimate relationships.

The impact of personal networks on conjugal and psychological vulnerability of heterosexual couples in a long-term relationship: a longitudinal perspective

Rita Gouveia

Université de Genève, Switzerland

Personal networks and social support are paramount for the well-being of individuals, couples and their families as they provide emotional and material resources to cope with critical events and transitions over the life course. Several features of personal networks have been empirically proved to have an impact on conjugal quality, such as the density of support, the level of ties’ overlap between partners, and the level of family interference on conjugal interactions. However, little is known about the longitudinal effects of those indicators on partners’ psychological and conjugal adjustment. Therefore, the main aim of this paper is to investigate the role of personal networks on both psychological and conjugal vulnerability of couples, by taking a longitudinal approach. For this purpose, we draw on data from the Swiss longitudinal survey “Social Stratification, Cohesion and Conflict in Contemporary Families”, which has been following an initial sample of 1534 heterosexual couples residing in Switzerland over three waves (1998, 2004 and 2011). In this paper, we focus on couples who remained together between wave 1 and wave 3 (N=721). In order to explore the network effects, we focus on both functional indicators (perception of emotional and financial support available, level of family interference) and structural indicators (level of friendship overlap, frequency of contact, and the level of transitivity between friends, siblings and parents). Psychological vulnerability was measured through a 6-item scale of depressive symptoms. In order to assess conjugal vulnerability, we rely on three indicators: conjugal satisfaction, separation thoughts, and frequency of conjugal conflict. Findings show that networks have a significant impact on both individual and conjugal vulnerability, although with different effects on men and women.

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