Stepfamily instability in Canada: new insights based on a comparison of male and female reports

Valerie Martin, University of Bamberg

This paper examines stepfamily instability by applying event history analysis to the 2001 General Social Survey on family. Stepfamily instability has been linked to the lack of institutionalized norms in these families (Cherlin, 1978). As previous studies, our analysis shows that the risk of separation among stepfamilies is linked to variables, such as the type of family (stepmother or stepfather), the type of union (cohabiting or married), and the birth of a common child into the union. The most compelling finding of our research lies in the differences in findings observed between the stepfamily episodes reported by male and female respondents, with stepmother families facing a lower risk of separation in the female sample, and stepfather families being more stable in the male sample. These results question some of the findings of previous research and shed some new light on how data on stepfamily is collected and should be analyzed.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Fertility, family and children