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Entering a stepfamily: Children’s Experience of Family Reconstitution in Sweden 1970-2000
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. (Demografiska avdelningen)
2011 (English)In: Zeitschrift für Familienforschung, ISSN 1437-2940, Vol. 23, no 2, 154-172 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article, I use the Swedish Level of Living Survey data to study children’s experience of family reconstitution, or the first formation of stepfamily in Sweden 1970 to 2000. I set out to analyze relative risks for acquiring a stepparent for boys and girls of different ages and socioeconomic backgrounds, here measured as parent’s educational attainment. The results show no educational differences in the stepfamily formation process. There are however clear gender differences in the family reconstitution process where the likelihood of gaining a stepparent varies by the child’s gender. Other factors that have effect on the child’s likelihood of entering the first stepfamily are the time lived with a single parent as well as the child’s age in interaction with the child’s sex. Although there are no educational differentials in stepfamily formation, one needs to account for the social gradient in the processes leading to children being in the risk pool. Particularly children of higher educated parents have a significantly lower risk of being born out of union or experiencing a parental union dissolution and thus being exposed to the risk of entering a stepfamily.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 23, no 2, 154-172 p.
Keyword [en]
stepfamilies, family changes, family reconstitution, Sweden, LNU
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-64779ISI: 000296939200004OAI: diva2:458674
FAS, Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research
Available from: 2011-11-23 Created: 2011-11-23 Last updated: 2013-09-09
In thesis
1. Stepfamily Dynamics in Sweden: Essays on family structure and children’s well-being
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Stepfamily Dynamics in Sweden: Essays on family structure and children’s well-being
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis investigates different aspects of family structure and children’s well-being in Sweden. Applying a child perspective, it analyzes children’s likelihood of stepfamily entry, their emotional well-being in different family forms and educational outcomes in families with complex sibling structures. Analyses are performed using data from nationally representative surveys of both parents and children as well as from administrative registers.

The results do not show any socioeconomic differences in the process of family reconstitution, although children of parents with low educational attainment are more likely to be in the risk pool for stepfamily formation. There are however differences by gender, with girls having higher likelihood of stepfamily entry than boys, especially in the younger ages. Children are also more likely to experience a stepfamily formation on the paternal side, thus gaining a stepmother. Gender differences can also be found in the association between family type and emotional as well as educational well-being, with girls showing slightly more adverse outcomes than boys. Children of both sexes do however show lower well-being and school outcomes in post-separation family types than in original two-parent families.

Like previous international stepfamily literature the results show that Swedish children in stepfamilies and blended families experience adverse emotional and educational outcomes but that the differences are generally small. The main contrast to previous, mostly American, studies are the lack of socioeconomic differences in stepfamily formation and that adverse emotional outcomes in single parent families as well as stepfamilies seem to be mainly explained by differences in parenting and the parent-child relationship rather than economic deprivation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2013. 43 p.
Dissertation series / Stockholm University Demography Unit, ISSN 1404-2304 ; 8
Stepfamily, family structure, child well-being
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociological Demography
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-93284 (URN)978-91-87235-50-4 (ISBN)978-91-87235-49-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-10-11, Ahlmannsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Familjestruktur, ekonomiska resurser och barns levnadsvillkor
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2004-1975

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper3: Manuscript.

Available from: 2013-09-19 Created: 2013-09-06 Last updated: 2016-05-27Bibliographically approved

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