The Intergenerational Transmission of Marital Expectations and Age at First Marriage: Evidence from Mothers and Children in the NLSY79 and NLSY79 Young Adults

Rachel R. Brown, Ohio State University
Claire M. Kamp Dush, Ohio State University

Parents’ own marital timing desires and their age at first marriage may be associated with their offspring’s marital timing desires and the timing of their own first unions. Understanding the determinants of marital timing is critical because it has implications for marital functioning and divorce; an earlier age at marriage is associated with increased risk of divorce. We examine the intergenerational transmission of marital timing desires and age at first marriage in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 cohort (N = 1501 women) and 1979 Child and Young Adult cohort (N = 2177 biological offspring of the 1979 cohort). Preliminary analyses showed that both mothers’ desires to marry late, measured when she was in adolescence/emerging adulthood, and mothers’ later age of marriage were significantly associated with their offspring’s later desired age of marriage. Next, we plan to examine the offspring’s age at first marriage and cohabitation as outcomes.

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Presented in Session 88: Attitudes and Expectations in Family Formation