Stepfamily Effects on Early Home‐Leaving: The Role of Conflict and Closeness

L. van den Berg, M. Kalmijn, T. Leopold

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Objective
This study examined the role of stepfamily experiences on early home‐leaving with detailed measures for stepfamily experiences that capture levels of closeness and conflict, and with a detailed measure for home‐leaving that captures pathways out of the home.
Background
Young adults raised in stepfamilies leave home and form unions earlier than young adults raised in single‐parent families. Little is known about the reasons for this difference. This study examined two potential explanations—conflict and lack of closeness in the stepparent‐stepchild relationship.
Method
This study was based on Dutch OKiN data (Ouders en Kinderen in Nederland; Parents and Children in the Netherlands) on 3,566 young adults from separated families. Multinomial logistic regression analyses were used to estimate effects of stepfamily experiences on different pathways of early home‐leaving. Stepfamily experiences were measured with the level of closeness and conflict in the stepparent‐stepchild relationship.
Results
The results showed that young adults from stepfamilies were more likely to enter trajectories of both early home‐leaving and early union formation. Yet this effect was limited to those having a distant or conflicted relationship with their stepparent.
Conclusion
These findings demonstrate the role of the stepparent in the home‐leaving process and the heterogeneity in stepparent effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-321
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Volume83
Issue number2
Early online date08 Jul 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 03 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • stepfamily
  • early home-leaving

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