Lean on me? The influence of parental separation and divorce on children’s support networks in four European countries

M. Kalmijn, J. Dronkers

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Abstract

Using data on 14-year old children in four European countries, this study compares the support networks of children in intact and separated families. It is found that a parental separation has significant effects on the nature of these networks. Children of separated parents are less likely to include the father in their networks and also less likely to include the mother, although this latter effect is smaller than the former. Conflict after separation is negatively associated with the presence of parents in the network, while co-parenting is positively associated with mentioning the father. Other persons in the network (kin, friends) are not mentioned more often when children have separated parents. Theoretically, our results confirm hypotheses about physical and emotional availability. Hypotheses about network compensation by others than the parents receive little support. Some cross-national variation in effects of separation is found, but a negative effect exists in all countries. The practical relevance of our findings is that the increased demand for support that children experience when their parents separate, often goes together with a reduction in the supply of support.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-42
JournalZeitschrift für Familienforschung
Volume27
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • SSCI

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