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Marriage Fam Rev. 2011 Jan 1;47(1):45-72.

Family Types, Direct Money Transfers from Parents, and School Enrollment among Youths.

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  • 1Department of Sociology, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, USA.

Abstract

Intrafamily resource transfers have not been studied extensively as a process that may help reduce the well-being disadvantage of stepchildren in parental remarriages relative to biological children in parental first marriages. The process is examined here by analyzing the link between direct parental money transfers and academic outcomes, as measured by enrollment. I develop and test two alternative hypotheses pertaining to a part of this link, which distinctly applies to children of remarried stepfamilies--the component not shared with children in intact families. An adaptive strategy hypothesis posits a well-being enhancing distinct component, operationalized as a positive interaction effect between measures of parental transfers × stepchildren in parental remarriages. A compromised use hypothesis posits a well-being compromising one, implying a negative interaction effect. Two sets of results from analyzing data on 18-21 year olds over multiple years (Nyouth-age=5,736, Nperson=3,615) in the first five waves of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97) support the adaptive strategy hypothesis: a) the interaction effect (income received from parents × being a stepchild in a parental remarriage) has a positive sign; and b) this interaction effect is consistently positive, whether the youth is at risk of attending high school or college, even when the direction of the shared component of the link, as measured by the main effect of income from parents, varies by the level of schooling. The results suggest the presence of a robust well-being enhancing money transfer mechanism supporting children in some remarried stepparent families.

PMID:
21731122
[PubMed]
PMCID:
PMC3124779
Free PMC Article
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