The Determinants of Post-Divorce Relationship Trajectories. What Is the Role of Early Life Conditions, Intergenerational Transmission, Education & the Transition to Adulthood in Influencing the Post-Divorce Partnership Trajectories?

Sam Jenkinson, KU Leuven
Hideko Matsuo, University of Leuven
Koen Matthys, Family and Population Studies, Centre for Sociological Research, Faculty of Social Sciences, KU Leuven

Trends associated with the Second Demographic Transition (SDT) have resulted in increasing marital and family instability, with both increased divorce rates and a growing diversity in family forms and relationship trajectories. These trends have co-occurred with increased participation in higher education and the labour force by women and subsequently increasing and increased involvement within the home by men (Goldscheider 2015). Families increasingly experience complex living arrangements and partnership patterns, including periods of lone parenthood, as well as potentially multiple new partnerships and step parenthood. We assess determinants of these different post-divorce relationship trajectories, using sequence analysis to create typologies of post-divorce relationship dynamics and then regression analysis to examine the causes of these different typologies taking into account education, early life conditions and the timing and way of leaving the parental home, e.g cohabitation or marriage. This allows us to examine the dynamics of inter-generational transmission of relationship behaviour.

We use the “Divorce in Flanders survey” (Pasteels, et al., 2011) which includes detailed retrospective partnership histories, with up to 10 post-divorce relationships records. Our preliminary results show three distinct relationship trajectories after divorce; those who remain single for long periods of time, those with multiple relationships and those with more stable re-partnerships. We aim to provide evidence of inter-generational transmission of divorce and relationship patterns (parent-child) and post-divorce relationship trajectories. Furthermore, we aim to illustrate the specifics of inter-generational transmission behaviour, through examining the effects of age of leaving home, age and incidence of parental relationship instability and education.

Presented in Session 71: Post-Separation Life Courses