The socialization of nontraditional family formation: cohabitation and nonmarital childbirth among young adults Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Suzuki, Kayo
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology
  • Many young adults today grew up in various family forms and experienced family status changes such as parental divorce, single-parenthood, and family reformation. The claim of socialization theory that parents' attitudes and behaviors are transmitted to their children is indicative of what happens when children make the transition into adulthood and start to form their own families. I use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to examine the association between parental family behaviors and young adult children's first union type and nonmarital childbirth. In this dissertation, I employ the life course perspective by considering the entire family structure history from birth through adolescence, and I also employ the ecological systems perspectives by exploring the influence of the family structures of neighbors and school peers above and beyond that of family of origin. This dissertation contributes to the socialization literature by testing duration effects, gender differences, and race-ethnic differences of socialization. It also contributes to the nonmarital childbirth literature by analyzing nonmarital childbearing in cohabitation and outside of a coresidential union. Results show that cohabitation and nonmarital childbirth are common among today's young adults, suggesting that a retreat from the conventional course of family formation is a macro-level trend. However, this dissertation confirms the importance of socialization processes on first family formation. I found that socialization occurs both inside and outside of the family, and that duration effects of socialization exist. Furthermore, I found socialization effects of neighborhood family structure on first union type across all race-ethnic groups. However, school peers' parental family behaviors showed opposite effects on first union type in early adulthood for Blacks and Hispanics, suppressing the effect in the total sample. As for nonmarital childbirth, the socialization explanation was supported in simple analyses, but financial hardship and opportunity costs also had explanatory power. Overall, this dissertation shows that socialization helps to better understand nontraditional family formation processes, while it also illuminates the importance of taking race and family type variations into consideration in analysis.
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  • In Copyright
  • "... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Sociology."
  • Harris, Kathleen Mullan
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Open access

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