The Timing and Partnership Context of Becoming a Parent: Cohort and Gender Commonalities and Differences in Childhood Antecedents

Kathleen E. Kiernan, University of York
John Hobcraft, University of York

We use the rich information available from two British birth cohort studies, of children born in 1958 (NCDS) and in 1970 (BCS70). There are substantial inter-cohort shifts in timing and context of becoming a parent and the gender differences in timing. We explore the extent to which a common model for childhood antecedents of parenthood, both across cohorts and across genders, suffices. We use carefully created common childhood measures for the two cohorts and then pool the two data sets and fit common models. We then ask whether explicit terms for gender or for cohort are supported by the data. These can take the form of an unexplained gender or cohort differential or can involve specific differential pathways through the measured childhood antecedents. Preliminary results give considerable support for elements of a common model, however plausible and interpretable gender and cohort terms are also necessary.

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Presented in Session 19: Demography and Life Course Studies