تفاوت های نژادی در اثر طلاق والدین و جدایی بر روی کودکان: تعمیم شواهد به یک مورد اروپا
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|37127||2010||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Social Science Research, Volume 39, Issue 5, September 2010, Pages 845–856
Abstract Much American research has shown that the effects of parental divorce and single parenthood on children are weaker among African Americans than among whites. So far, this moderator effect has not been studied in other societies. Are there also weaker effects of parental divorce and single parenthood for blacks in other countries? We answer this question by analyzing Caribbeans in the Netherlands. We analyze effects of parental divorce and separation on eight outcome indicators for children in adulthood and we compare these effects between Caribbeans and whites. We show that for Caribbeans there are no effects of parental divorce on own divorce, cohabitation, leaving home, and contact frequency with the father, much in contrast to the effects for whites. For socioeconomic outcomes, however, the effects are similar for Caribbeans and whites.
1. Introduction Many studies have shown that children whose parents divorce fare less well than children from intact families. Negative effects are found for a range of outcomes, including well-being, behavior problems, school grades, school dropout, educational attainment, idleness, marital dissolution, and teenage pregnancy (Amato, 2000). Much current research focuses on the conditions which may increase or reduce the effects of parental divorce, i.e., a question of moderator or interaction effects. For example, authors have examined whether effects of parental divorce and family structure depend on the child’s age and sex (Amato, 2000 and Powell and Downey, 1997), on socioeconomic resources of fathers and mothers (Biblarz and Raftery, 1993, Fischer, 2004 and McLanahan and Sandefur, 1994), and on the quality of the parents’ marriage (Amato and Cheadle, 2008, Dronkers, 1999, Hanson, 1999 and Morrison and Coiro, 1999). An important factor that moderates the effects of parental divorce is race and ethnicity. In their influential book on single parenthood, McLanahan and Sandefur (1994) showed that growing up with a single parent has a less detrimental effect on the fate of black (African American) children than on the fate of white children. For example, among whites, the rate of high school dropout was 2.5 times higher for children of single parent families than for children of intact families, but this ratio was only 1.8 among blacks (p. 59). In another study, McLanahan and Bumpass showed that the effect of growing up with a single parent on the risk of marital dissolution was more than twice as strong for whites as it was for blacks (Mclanahan and Bumpass, 1988). A meta-analysis by Amato and Keith concluded that there are weaker effects of family structure on children’s educational attainment and psychological adjustment among blacks than among whites (Amato and Keith, 1991). Black–white differences in the effect of family structure on the risk of teenage pregnancy are also present but less pronounced (McLanahan and Sandefur, 1994 and Wu and Thomson, 2001). An exception to these results is a recent study by Sun and Li which finds no significant black–white differences in the effects of parental divorce on school-related outcomes and children’s behavior problems (Sun and Li, 2007). Virtually all the research on racial differences in the effect of parental divorce comes from the United States so that it is unclear how robust and how general these findings are. In other words, does the finding of smaller effects of parental divorce among blacks also apply to other societies? We try to answer this question by focusing on a European case, i.e., Caribbeans in the Netherlands. Although there is little research on racial differences outside the United States, there are two small-scale studies in the Netherlands which find no effect of single parenthood among Caribbeans for two child outcomes, i.e., school success (Hofman, 1993) and problem behavior (Distelbrink, 2000). These two studies suggest that the hypothesis may apply to the Netherlands as well. The goal of the present paper is to compare the effect of parental divorce on children for (Dutch) Caribbeans on the one hand and for native stock Dutch persons (hereafter called ‘whites’) on the other hand. The focus is on adult outcomes for children in three domains: (a) socioeconomic outcomes (educational attainment and employment), (b) demographic outcomes (leaving home, marriage and family formation and dissolution), and (c) outcomes in family life (relationships with family members). For all these domains, the research literature has shown significant effects of parental divorce (Amato, 2000). Although the focus on a large number of outcomes makes the analysis complex, it also results in a stronger test of the general hypothesis than one would obtain if just a single outcome was considered. The central independent variable is the experience of a parental divorce before age 18, the official age of becoming legally independent in the Netherlands. For most children, the experience of a parental divorce also implies living some time in a single mother household, although the duration of this experience can vary, depending on the age at which the child experiences the parents’ divorce and the mother’s repartnering behavior. Note that there are also children who grew up with a single, never married mother, but the number of these cases is too small for a separate analysis here.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
5. Conclusion Much American research has shown that the effects of parental divorce and single parenthood on children are weaker among African Americans than among whites. So far, this moderator effect has not been studied in other societies which raises the question of how general the patterns are that were found in American research. Are there also weaker effects of parental divorce and single parenthood for blacks in other countries? We have tried to answer this question by analyzing Caribbeans in the Netherlands. In some respects, Dutch Caribbeans resemble blacks in the United States. A substantial part of Dutch Caribbeans are black, they have very high rates of divorce and single parenthood, and they are disadvantaged in socioeconomic respects. There are of course also differences. The Dutch Caribbean experience is probably more similar to the Caribbean experience in the United States than to the African American experience (Butcher, 1994 and Model, 1991). There is also more ethnic diversity within the Dutch Caribbean group than within the Caribbean groups in other countries (Choenni and Harmsen, 2007 and Model et al., 1999). Finally, there is more intermarriage with whites among Dutch Caribbeans than among African Americans (Kalmijn and Van Tubergen, 2006). While recognizing these differences, we note that in terms of divorce and single parenthood, Dutch Caribbeans are rather similar to African and Caribbean blacks in the United States. Dutch Caribbeans therefore serve as an important case for generalizing the American findings. Our findings generally confirm the American evidence but they also lead to several new insights. First of all, we find that the effects of parental divorce on demographic outcomes are significantly weaker among Caribbeans than among whites. Among Caribbeans, the experience of a parental divorce has no effect on children’s divorce, no effect on the choice between marriage and cohabitation, and no effect on the age at which children leave home. The results for early childbearing were weaker, which may be due to the more limited statistical power of this particular analysis. So far, these results are in line with findings for the United States. Less well-known is the differential effect of parental divorce on the relationship between parents and children. Like other studies, we find that children have less frequent contact with their father when the parents were divorced. However, this effect appears to be significantly weaker for Caribbeans than for whites. Another novelty comes from the analysis of mothers. Although a parental divorce reduces the frequency of contact with the mother for whites, it appears to increase the frequency of contact with the mother among Caribbeans. The positive effect of parental divorce supports the notion that there are strong maternal kinship ties among Caribbeans and that these ties may work as a buffer in times of crisis. Although the results so far are in line with the general hypothesis, we find no evidence for the hypothesis when looking at socioeconomic outcomes. Children of divorced parents have a lower level of education than children of married parents and they are more often not employed and not in school. However, these effects are similar for whites and Caribbeans. In other words, the evidence for the hypothesis seems to be limited to outcomes in the demographic and family domain. A possible explanation for this exception lies in the economic resources of the parents. We found in an auxiliary analysis that the income differences between single parent families and two-parent families in the Netherlands are rather similar for Caribbeans and whites. Parental income is also a determinant of children’s educational attainment, which may explain why we do not find differential effects on the socioeconomic outcomes of children. Because we had no prospective longitudinal data, we have not been able to test interpretations of the differences we found but we have reviewed the most likely interpretations. The basic argument in the literature has been that a parental divorce results in normative disapproval on the one hand, and in lower resources of parents on the other hand. Both these consequences are expected to be more limited among blacks—less disapproval and a more modest loss of social resources—and that is why the children in black families are expected to be affected less strongly by a parental divorce than white children. These interpretations are plausible in the Netherlands as well, with the exception of the role of parental income resources, which does not imply differential effects in the Dutch case. In closing, we consider some alternative interpretations for the differential effects we found. One alternative explanation lies in the role of parental cohabitation. It is possible that among Caribbeans, there were relatively more breakups of parents who were cohabiting rather than married. If the breakup of a parental union has less negative effects for children if that union was not an official marriage, this may play a role in understanding the differences we found. However, we should add that in the Netherlands, married and cohabiting unions are quite similar when there are children involved. Hence, it is not yet clear if this difference can explain the findings. Another possible alternative explanation lies in the role of selectivity. If the threshold to divorce or separate is higher among whites, the parents who break up may have had more serious problems during their marriage and this may have had more severe consequences for their children. To examine such alternative explanations, panel data are needed which include information on the quality of the marriage before the divorce occurred. Panel data would also be a step forward when outcomes during childhood are examined rather than adult outcomes, such as is done here. Such data can be used to examine when the effects of a parental divorce occur, how long they last, and whether negative child outcomes preceed the divorce ( Cherlin et al., 1998 and Sun and Li, 2002). Examining the dynamics of parental divorce effects for blacks may also yield more insights in the underlying reasons behind the differentials that were found. Perhaps there are still negative immediate effects of parental divorce on black children due to the stress and pain that a divorce creates but there may be a quicker recuperation due to greater acceptance and more kinship support. Although panel data are available in the Netherlands, such data typically have too little statistical power to analyze an ethnic minority group like the Dutch Caribbeans. The lack of panel data for ethnic minorities in the Netherlands (and other European countries) thus remains a handicap for the study of ethnic and racial differences in family life.