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  • Individual Author: Wu, Lawrence L.; Cherlin, Andrew J.; Bumpass, Larry L.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1997

    In this paper, we argue that entry into first sexual intercourse is a key process mediating the effects of family structure on premarital childbearing. We explicate three ways in which onset of sexual activity can mediate effects of family structure on premarital first births. First, the gross association between family structure and premarital birth risks may be due entirely to the effect of family structure on age at first intercourse. Second, the earlier the age at first intercourse, the longer the duration of exposure to the risk of a premarital first birth. Third, an early age at first intercourse may proxy unmeasured individual characteristics correlated with age at onset but uncorrelated with other variables in the model. We develop methods to assess such mediating effects and analyze data from two sources, the 1979-93 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and the 1988 National Survey of Family Growth. We find that age at first intercourse partially mediates the effect on premarital birth risks of both snapshot measures of family structure at age 14 and a time-varying...

    In this paper, we argue that entry into first sexual intercourse is a key process mediating the effects of family structure on premarital childbearing. We explicate three ways in which onset of sexual activity can mediate effects of family structure on premarital first births. First, the gross association between family structure and premarital birth risks may be due entirely to the effect of family structure on age at first intercourse. Second, the earlier the age at first intercourse, the longer the duration of exposure to the risk of a premarital first birth. Third, an early age at first intercourse may proxy unmeasured individual characteristics correlated with age at onset but uncorrelated with other variables in the model. We develop methods to assess such mediating effects and analyze data from two sources, the 1979-93 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and the 1988 National Survey of Family Growth. We find that age at first intercourse partially mediates the effect on premarital birth risks of both snapshot measures of family structure at age 14 and a time-varying measure of the number of family transitions, but that significant effects of these variables remain net of age at first intercourse. Delaying age at intercourse by one year reduces the cumulative relative risk of a premarital first birth by a similar amount for both white and black women. For black women, the magnitude of this effect is roughly the same as that of residing in a mother-only family at age 14. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Hardy, Janet B. ; Shapiro, Sam ; Astone, Nan M. ; Miller, Therese L. ; Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne ; Hilton, Sterling C.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 1997

    Objectives. Data from recent interviews with 1758 inner-city children, born between 1960 to 1965 and followed with their mothers in the Pathways to Adulthood Study to age 27 to 33 years, were used to address two related questions. 1) Is maternal age, across the reproductive age range, a determinant of child's adult outcome? and 2) Do covariates of maternal age at delivery reduce or eliminate the effect of maternal age on child's adult outcome?

    Methods. An intergenerational life course model of development identified significant maternal and child characteristics at birth associated with the child's self-sufficient outcomes in adulthood: education (more than or equal to a high school diploma); financial independence of public support; and delay of first birth until age 20 or older. Bivariate and multiple logistic regression techniques were used to identify independent relationships between dependent and independent variables and to adjust the outcomes to compensate for the effect of possible confounding of maternal age at delivery by maternal education,...

    Objectives. Data from recent interviews with 1758 inner-city children, born between 1960 to 1965 and followed with their mothers in the Pathways to Adulthood Study to age 27 to 33 years, were used to address two related questions. 1) Is maternal age, across the reproductive age range, a determinant of child's adult outcome? and 2) Do covariates of maternal age at delivery reduce or eliminate the effect of maternal age on child's adult outcome?

    Methods. An intergenerational life course model of development identified significant maternal and child characteristics at birth associated with the child's self-sufficient outcomes in adulthood: education (more than or equal to a high school diploma); financial independence of public support; and delay of first birth until age 20 or older. Bivariate and multiple logistic regression techniques were used to identify independent relationships between dependent and independent variables and to adjust the outcomes to compensate for the effect of possible confounding of maternal age at delivery by maternal education, parity, poverty status, and the child's race and gender.

    Results.  Each covariate was independently associated with maternal age at delivery. Adjustment for their effects reduced, but did not eliminate, the association between maternal age at birth and the child's outcome at age 27 to 33 years. As a group, children of the oldest mothers (≥25 years of age) had the most favorable outcomes, and those of teenage mothers (<20 years of age) had the least favorable outcomes; 22% of daughters and 6% of sons of the oldest mothers versus 38% and 18%, respectively, of the youngest mothers became teenage parents.

    Conclusion.  The mother's age at delivery is an independent determinant of the child's adult status. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Barton, Paul E.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    This report attempts to assemble data on the trends that are favorable or unfavorable to independence from welfare. Twelve such conditions are examined in this report, and they are summarized in table form, with an indication of the direction of the trend and comments. The information is also summarized in narrative form to give an idea of what may be expected for welfare in the future. Overall, the trends that relate to family structure are unfavorable, with a slightly decreasing birth rate outside marriage being offset by the increase in births to teenage mothers. Figures relating to poverty that causes people to seek welfare assistance have been fairly constant. The proportion of the poor who do apply for welfare is rising, and contributing to higher dependency rates. Trend data are not available for literacy, an important component of independence, but the current state of literacy is not favorable for reducing dependence. The state of the economy is favorable to fostering independence; and the job market, while it has been unfavorable for welfare dependent persons, is...

    This report attempts to assemble data on the trends that are favorable or unfavorable to independence from welfare. Twelve such conditions are examined in this report, and they are summarized in table form, with an indication of the direction of the trend and comments. The information is also summarized in narrative form to give an idea of what may be expected for welfare in the future. Overall, the trends that relate to family structure are unfavorable, with a slightly decreasing birth rate outside marriage being offset by the increase in births to teenage mothers. Figures relating to poverty that causes people to seek welfare assistance have been fairly constant. The proportion of the poor who do apply for welfare is rising, and contributing to higher dependency rates. Trend data are not available for literacy, an important component of independence, but the current state of literacy is not favorable for reducing dependence. The state of the economy is favorable to fostering independence; and the job market, while it has been unfavorable for welfare dependent persons, is improving. The trends in social deviancy (crime in particular) are not favorable to reducing dependence. If people are removed from the welfare rolls because of arbitrary time caps, the rate of being on welfare will not reflect need. New measures of deprivation may be needed to show how many people are in great need, independent of the welfare rate. The following indicators are discussed: (1) literacy; (2) poverty; (3) employment prospects; (4) early sexual intercourse; (5) births outside of marriage; (6) establishing fatherhood; (7) child support enforcement; (8) intergenerational dependence; (9) teenage violent crime; (10) adult incarceration; (11) the welfare choice; and (12) deprivation indicators. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Wu, Lawrence L.; Thomson, Elizabeth
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    In this paper, we examine the effects of family structure on age at first sexual intercourse before marriage for recent cohorts of women. Previous research on the linkage between family structure and sexual initiation has employed relatively crude measures of family structure-typically a snapshot of the respondent's family structure at age 14. We use retrospective parent histories from the 1979-87 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to construct dynamic measures of family structure, using information on the number and types of parents in the respondent's household between birth and age 18. We use these measures to test the effects of prolonged exposure to a single-mother family, prolonged absence of a biological father, parental presence during adolescence, and instability in family structure. For white women, age-specific rates of first sexual intercourse are significantly and positively associated with time-varying measures for the number of family transitions; for black women, age-specific rates are significantly and positively associated with time-varying variables for...

    In this paper, we examine the effects of family structure on age at first sexual intercourse before marriage for recent cohorts of women. Previous research on the linkage between family structure and sexual initiation has employed relatively crude measures of family structure-typically a snapshot of the respondent's family structure at age 14. We use retrospective parent histories from the 1979-87 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to construct dynamic measures of family structure, using information on the number and types of parents in the respondent's household between birth and age 18. We use these measures to test the effects of prolonged exposure to a single-mother family, prolonged absence of a biological father, parental presence during adolescence, and instability in family structure. For white women, age-specific rates of first sexual intercourse are significantly and positively associated with time-varying measures for the number of family transitions; for black women, age-specific rates are significantly and positively associated with time-varying variables for having resided in a mother-only or father-only family during adolescence. Net of other effects of family structure, we find no significant effects for white or black women of being born out of wedlock, prolonged exposure to a single-mother family, or prolonged absence of a biological father. We interpret our results for white women as consistent with a turbulence and instability hypothesis, but as providing little support for socialization or parental-control hypotheses; for black women, our results are consistent with the parental-control hypothesis, but provide little support for the socialization and turbulence hypotheses. Overall, these findings suggest that the processes influencing the transition to sexual activity may vary quite markedly for white and black women. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Brush, Lisa D.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2001

    Poverty and battering trap women. Poor battered women find it especially difficult to move quickly from welfare to work and therefore to comply with the requirements of welfare reform. Interviews with the population of Black and White women enrolled at six sites of a short-term job readiness program (N = 122) revealed a significant association between battering and welfare-to-work transition. Women threatened or battered severely enough to have sought a protective order had three times the drop out rate of other enrollees. Black-White differences in program participation outcomes and in patterns of battering and its consequences were few but striking. White women dropped out more frequently than did Black women. There were no significant Black-White differences in reported violence and injury. However, White women reported significantly higher rates of some nonviolent abuse, specifically threats enforcing their conformity to traditional notions of maternity, domesticity, and economic dependence on men. According to colorblind models of battering, Black-White differences are...

    Poverty and battering trap women. Poor battered women find it especially difficult to move quickly from welfare to work and therefore to comply with the requirements of welfare reform. Interviews with the population of Black and White women enrolled at six sites of a short-term job readiness program (N = 122) revealed a significant association between battering and welfare-to-work transition. Women threatened or battered severely enough to have sought a protective order had three times the drop out rate of other enrollees. Black-White differences in program participation outcomes and in patterns of battering and its consequences were few but striking. White women dropped out more frequently than did Black women. There were no significant Black-White differences in reported violence and injury. However, White women reported significantly higher rates of some nonviolent abuse, specifically threats enforcing their conformity to traditional notions of maternity, domesticity, and economic dependence on men. According to colorblind models of battering, Black-White differences are either artifacts of reporting or are unpredicted and inexplicable. I interpret Black-White differences in the context of structural and institutional factors rather than individualistic racial stereotypes. Both White and Black battered women may need help with safety planning and should not be sanctioned if battering derails their compliance with welfare reform timetables. However, Black women will benefit even more from structural changes that make waged work a more viable route to safety and solvency. (author abstract)

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