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Stepfamily Dynamics in Sweden: Essays on family structure and children’s well-being
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. (Demografiska avdelningen)
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.
Series
Dissertation series / Stockholm University Demography Unit, ISSN 1404-2304 ; 8
Keyword [en]
Stepfamily, family structure, child well-being
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociological Demography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-93284ISBN: 978-91-87235-50-4 (print)ISBN: 978-91-87235-49-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-93284DiVA: diva2:646165
Public defence
2013-10-11, Ahlmannsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Familjestruktur, ekonomiska resurser och barns levnadsvillkor
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2004-1975
Note

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
List of papers
1. Family structure, gender, and adolescent emotional well-being
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Family structure, gender, and adolescent emotional well-being
2013 (English)In: Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, ISSN 1050-2556, E-ISSN 1540-4811, Vol. 54, no 6, 476-504 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article focuses on gender differences in emotional well-beingof adolescents in five different family settings. It analyzestwo main mediators—economic deprivation and parental socialization—and is based on unusually rich survey data combiningparental and child reports as well as information from administrativeregisters. The results show lower well-being of childrenin single-mother families and stepfamilies. These associations aremainly mediated through parental socialization rather than economicdeprivation, except for girls in their early to midteens livingwith a single mother. Different patterns of lower well-being levelsfor boys and girls in different family settings are found.

Keyword
child data, child well-being, emotional well-being, family structure, single parents, stepfamily
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-93281 (URN)10.1080/10502556.2013.810982 (DOI)
Funder
FAS, Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research, 2004-1975
Available from: 2013-09-06 Created: 2013-09-06 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
2. Entering a stepfamily: Children’s Experience of Family Reconstitution in Sweden 1970-2000
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Entering a stepfamily: Children’s Experience of Family Reconstitution in Sweden 1970-2000
2011 (English)In: Zeitschrift für Familienforschung, ISSN 1437-2940, E-ISSN 2196-2154, 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.

Keyword
stepfamilies, family changes, family reconstitution, Sweden, LNU
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Demography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-64779 (URN)000296939200004 ()
Funder
FAS, Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research
Available from: 2011-11-23 Created: 2011-11-23 Last updated: 2017-12-08
3. Adolescent Educational Outcomes in Blended Families: Evidence from Swedish Register Data 1998-2007
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Adolescent Educational Outcomes in Blended Families: Evidence from Swedish Register Data 1998-2007
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Using data from Swedish population registers (n: 874,812) this paper examines the association between sibling structure and educational outcomes among Swedish 9th graders 1998 to 2007. The large dataset, with the full student population, enables us to differentiate between adolescents with older and younger maternal as well as paternal half-siblings. The results show that adolescents in post-separation families with half-siblings have lower overall grades and are less likely to be eligible for school continuation after 9th grade than those without half-siblings. The results point to interesting gender patterns both by the sex of the child as well as whether the half-sibling is maternal or paternal. 

Keyword
Family structure, sibling structure, blended family, stepfamily, half-sibling, adolescent well-being, educational outcomes
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Sociological Demography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-93357 (URN)
Funder
FAS, Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research, 2004-1975
Available from: 2013-09-09 Created: 2013-09-09 Last updated: 2013-09-10Bibliographically approved

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