University of Wisconsin–Madison
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Intergenerational Relationships and Union Stability in Fragile Families

Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N=2,648), we examine the association between intergenerational family relationships and the union stability of married and unmarried parents over 5 years after a baby’s birth. Our results show that more amiable relationships between fathers and the baby’s maternal grandparents are associated with a greater likelihood of marriage, and the focal child’s spending more time with their paternal grandparents is linked with cohabitation. Children’s greater contact with maternal grandparents is associated with diminished union stability, although this result is not robust to methods that better address selection. Our findings underscore the importance of considering broader social contexts for understanding contemporary patterns of union formation and dissolution among parents with children.

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Family & Partnering, Family & Partnering General

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