Parental divorce and gender equality in Sweden

Michael Gahler, Stockholm University
Livia Olah, Stockholm University
Fran Goldscheider, University of Maryland
Eva Bernhardt, Stockholm University

This analysis tests the impact of parental divorce on adult children’s gender role attitudes. We examine two theories: “Role-restructuring” predicts that children raised with one parent will develop more egalitarian attitudes because the parent must undertake the roles of both parents, while “father-absence” predicts that children growing up in father-only families will be the most traditional, because it is fathers who are more likely to reinforce traditional roles. We test these theories using data on about 2800 respondents, both women and men, from two waves of the Swedish Young Adult Panel Study (YAPS), conducted 1999/2003. We examine attitudes towards gender equality in the public sphere of work, the private sphere of the family, and a combined-sphere measure. Our preliminary analyses indicate that the gender of the parent (with whom the child grew up with) and the child matters for the child's holding egalitarian attitudes in adulthood.

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Presented in Session 45: Determinants and consequences of union dissolution