Parental Separation and Leaving Home: Comparison of 16 European Countries
Anne Brons, NIDI
Harry Ganzeboom, VU University Amsterdam
Aart Liefbroer, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI-KNAW)
Previous research has shown that parental separation is an important predictor of the timing of leaving the parental home; young adults who experience a parental separation leave their parental home earlier than young adults from intact families. Most of these studies are conducted in single countries, mostly conducted in the US or Northern European countries. However, given the social, cultural and economic heterogeneity in Europe, it is unlikely that the link between parental separation and leaving home is consistent across countries. Therefore, we will analyse in the current study the link between parental separation and leaving home for 16 European countries from the first wave of the Generations and Gender Programme. We examine whether there is cross-national variation in the link between parental separation and leaving parental home by using a meta-analytical approach. We also examine how this variation can be explained by focusing on two country-level indicators, namely the divorce rate and the Human Development Index (HDI). In this study, we focus on young men and women between 15 and 35 years old. First preliminary results for women show that overall young women who experienced a parental separation leave their parental home earlier than young women from intact families, also after controlling for parental and individuals’ own education. Moreover, there is considerable cross-national variation in the link between parental separation and leaving home. Whether divorce is common or less common within a country (average divorce rate), does not explain this cross-national variation. However, the impact of parental separation on leaving home is stronger in countries that offer more scope for agency and human development (higher score on HDI). In these countries, young adults have more freedom and autonomy to leave their parental home, especially if something negatives happened, like a parental separation.
Presented in Session 41: Global Family Change