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Popul Stud (Camb). 2008 Nov;62(3):273-88. doi: 10.1080/00324720802320475.

The intergenerational transmission of divorce in cross-national perspective: results from the Fertility and Family Surveys.

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  • 1Department of Political and Social Sciences, European University Institute, San Domenico di Fiesole, Italy.


We used data on women's first marriages from the Fertility and Family Surveys to analyse the intergenerational transmission of divorce across 18 countries and to seek explanations in macro-level characteristics for the cross-national variation. Our results show that women whose parents divorced have a significantly higher risk of divorce in 17 countries. There is some cross-national variation. When compared with the USA, the association is stronger in six countries. This variation is negatively associated with the proportion of women in each cohort who experienced the divorce of their parents and with the national level of women's participation in the labour force during childhood. We conclude that differences in the contexts in which children of divorce learn marital and interpersonal behaviour affect the strength of the intergenerational transmission of divorce.

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