Parental Divorce and Gender Equality in Sweden

Fran Goldscheider, Brown University
Michael Gahler, Stockholm University
Eva Bernhardt, Stockholm University
Livia Olah, Stockholm University

This analysis tests the impact of parental divorce on 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 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 measure. Our preliminary analysis of the combined measure indicates that the gender of both parent and child matters, since among children raised in father-only families, sons hold the most egalitarian and daughters the least egalitarian attitudes, relative to those from two-parent families.

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Presented in Session 189: Parental Involvement in Diverse Family Forms