The Intergenerational Transmission of Divorce. Results from a Fifteen-Country Study with the Fertility and Family Survey

Andreas Diekmann, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH)
Kurt Schmidheiny, Université de Lausanne

This study investigates the intergenerational transmission of divorce in thirteen European countries, the United States and Canada. We analyzed the cross-national data from the Fertility and Family Survey applying techniques of event history analysis. Our analysis yields three main findings: (1) In all countries in Eastern Europe, Western Europe and North America included in our sample the effect of intergenerational divorce transmission is significant. The divorce risk of children of divorced parents is on average 2.03 times that of children of non-divorced parents, whereby the multiplier ranges from 1.5 in Hungary to 3.2 in Italy. (2) When taking marriage and fertility patterns into account this effect is only marginally reduced. (3) There is a strong negative correlation between the magnitude of the effect and the proportion of children experiencing their parents' divorce. This finding supports the hypothesis that low acceptance and stigmatization of divorce aggravate the long-term consequences for children of divorced parents.

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Presented in Session 118: Family Background Effects