Sexual morality and new forms of living arrangement in Britain: the role of cohort replacement and period effects in attitudinal change.

Ann M. Berrington, University of Southampton

There have been significant changes in patterns of sexual behaviour, partnering and parenting in Britain since the 1960s. This paper uses repeated cross-sections from the British Social Attitude Survey (1984-2006) to investigate changes in public attitudes towards sexual morality and new family forms in Britain. By modelling individual level responses to a consistent time series of questions regarding premarital sex, homosexuality, cohabitation and extra-marital childbearing we investigate the role of cohort replacement and intra-cohort change. Using basic descriptive methods and a quasi-cohort approach we track the level of inter-cohort and intra-cohort change in each attitude. We then investigate the extent to which cohort changes in attitude relate to population compositional changes in education and religiosity. Finally, the paper examines what additional insights can be learnt about the role of age, period and cohort effects using hierarchical age-period-cohort models of the type recently put forward by Yang and colleagues.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Fertility, family and children