The Intergenerational Transmission of Socioeconomic Status in Stepfamilies: What Happens if Two Fathers Are Involved in the Transmission Process?

S.G. de Leeuw, M. Kalmijn

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Objective: This study examines the intergenerational transmission of socioeconomic status among people who have a biological father as well as a stepfather. In particular, this study investigates how the relative importance of biological fathers and stepfathers in the transmission process depends on the time in coresidence, postdivorce contact frequency, and parental involvement.
Background: The traditional literature on social mobility and stratification has a strong focus on the intact family. Recently, a new strand of literature on the transmission process in divorced families has emerged. However, little is known about the role of contact quantity and quality in the intergenerational transmission process in divorced families.
Method: The authors used the newly collected survey Parents and Children in the Netherlands and selected 1,540 respondents from stepfamilies. A structural equation model was used for the analysis.
Results: Biological fathers who have more frequent contact with their children after divorce and who are more involved in the school life of their child are more influential in the transmission process. This is also true for more involved stepfathers. In addition, there is evidence that stepfathers are especially important when there is limited contact with the biological father.
Conclusion Based on these findings, it could be said that stepfathers “replace” absent biological fathers but the role of stepfathers is relatively small when the biological father stays involved in the life of the child.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)657-674
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Volume82
Issue number2
Early online date04 Oct 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

Keywords

  • Education
  • intergenerational transmission
  • nonresidential parenting
  • postdivorce parenting
  • stepfamilies

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