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Advances in life course research - Adv Life Course Res

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Looking Homeward with the Life Course: Early Origins of Adult Dwelling Satisfaction?

Publication date: Available online 25 February 2020

Source: Advances in Life Course Research

Author(s): Markus H. Schafer, Matthew A. Andersson

Not all the same Swedish teenage mothers’ and fathers’ selection into early family formation trajectories

Publication date: Available online 19 February 2020

Source: Advances in Life Course Research

Author(s): Sara Kalucza, Anna Baranowska-Rataj, Karina Nilsson

Previous research has focused on teenage parenthood as a single outcome, and has overlooked the wider family formation trajectory in which it is situated. In this paper, using Swedish register data and sequence analysis tools, we explore the diversity in timing and ordering of childbearing and (re)partnering events among teenage parents. We identify trajectory clusters of traditional family patterns, modern family patterns, single parenthood and re-partnering patterns. We also examine the role of resources in the family of origin for the probability of following the different types of family formation trajectories among teenage parents. Where economic resources in the family of origin is related to the type of trajectory teenage fathers follow, family structure is of greater importance for teenage mothers. The family formation trajectories of teenage parents display substantial heterogeneity, which contradicts a view that a person who has a child early in life suddenly has their life's script written.

Distance and Acceptance: Identity Formation in Young Adults with Chronic Health Conditions

Publication date: Available online 17 February 2020

Source: Advances in Life Course Research

Author(s): Hillary Steinberg

Health has long been a chief concern of life course researchers, especially in examining early life. Research on chronic conditions and their impact on individual identity often center on biographical disruption or the idea of a bifurcation of “before and after” identities. This research examines identity formation in young adults with chronic health conditions that began in childhood, a population that continues to grow. This study focuses on young adults’ narrative identities, both regarding how young adults describe the transition to adulthood and how cultural ideals of young adulthood and actors from institutions influence how they describe themselves. This study uses 22 in-depth qualitative interviews to reveal how young adults distance themselves from their conditions or move to acceptance through the narratives they tell about their health, feelings, and behaviors. This research suggests that identity confirmation by others forms an integral part of the nexus of health and the life course, shaping how adolescents make the transition into young adulthood. Social support from actors in institutions gives room to some young adults with chronic conditions to integrate their conditions into their narrative identities. This study reveals the social nature of young adult identities, and how cultural ideals guide them, precisely because it uses cases of young adults who must transition to adulthood in alternative ways.

Mental health problems in adolescence, first births, and union formation: Evidence from the Young HUNT Study

Publication date: Available online 30 January 2020

Source: Advances in Life Course Research

Author(s): Miriam Evensen, Torkild Hovde Lyngstad

While a large literature documents how mental health problems in adolescence have long-term consequences for adult socioeconomic outcomes, less is known about the relation with family-formation behavior. In this paper, we use data from a populationbased Norwegian health survey (the Young-HUNT study) linked to administrative registry data (N = 8,113) to examine the long-term consequences of symptoms of internalizing and externalizing problems, the two most common forms of mental health problems, on family-formation outcomes: the likelihood of a first birth, the union status of a first birth, and entering first marriage. For men, externalizing problems are associated with earlier parenthood, especially becoming a father without having a coresidential relationship with the child’s mother. Internalizing problems, on the other hand, are associated with lower first-birth rates and the association grows progressively stronger with age. We also find that the associations are more pronounced among men with low childhood socioeconomic status. In contrast, women’s family-formation appears for the most part unrelated to their mental health.

An overview of mixture modelling for latent evolutions in longitudinal data: Modelling approaches, fit statistics and software

Publication date: Available online 25 January 2020

Source: Advances in Life Course Research

Author(s): Gavin van der Nest, Valéria Lima Passos, Math J.J.M. Candel, Gerard J.P. van Breukelen

The use of finite mixture modelling (FMM) is becoming increasingly popular for the analysis of longitudinal repeated measures data. FMMs assist in identifying latent classes following similar paths of temporal development. This paper aims to address the confusion experienced by practitioners new to these methods by introducing the various available techniques, which includes an overview of their interrelatedness and applicability. Our focus will be on the commonly used model-based approaches which comprise latent class growth analysis (LCGA), group-based trajectory models (GBTM), and growth mixture modelling (GMM). We discuss criteria for model selection, highlight often encountered challenges and unresolved issues in model fitting, showcase model availability in software, and illustrate a model selection strategy using an applied example

A closer look at labour market status and crime among a general population sample of young men and women

Publication date: Available online 25 January 2020

Source: Advances in Life Course Research

Author(s): Anke Ramakers, Mikko Aaltonen, Pekka Martikainen

Those in the most criminally active age groups are facing particular difficulties in entering the labour market and accumulating stable work experiences. This study uses a large representative sample of Finnish adolescents to examine how different labour market statuses are associated with crime. Both for men and women, within-individual variation in employment is inversely linked to all crime measures considered, albeit to a different extent. In addition, qualitatively different categories of non-employment (e.g., non-participation without legitimate reason, studying, being on parental leave) are distinctly associated with crime. The findings underscore the importance of a detailed conceptualization of labour market status in research that aligns with the changed nature of employment and approximates the actual labour market experiences of young adults.

The promises and pitfalls of life-course agency

Publication date: September 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 41

Author(s): Martin Kohli

An economist’s view of theoretical advances in life course research

Publication date: September 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 41

Author(s): Miriam Beblo

How might life history theory contribute to life course theory?

Publication date: September 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 41

Author(s): Gert Stulp, Rebecca Sear

Viewpoints, travel sense, and companions along the journey

Publication date: September 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 41

Author(s): Elizabeth Thomson

A multi-disciplinary model of life-course canalization and agency

Publication date: September 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 41

Author(s): Jutta Heckhausen, Marlis Buchmann

This article integrates life-course sociological insights and perspectives with the conceptions of agency and individual motivation formulated as the motivational theory of life-span development. We use Waddington’s epigenetic landscape as a metaphor for how life courses are shaped jointly by societal structure and individual agency. Social structure imposes constraints and institutions provide the transitions and pathways that together constitute critical scaffolding for life-course timing and path dependency (“canalization”). The building blocks from developmental and motivational psychology as well as from life-course sociology are introduced first. Then we address the dynamic interplay of individual agent and society in terms of life-span timing and life-course canalization (i.e., path-dependency) effects. The proposed conceptual framework moves beyond previous accounts of agent-society interplay in two distinct ways. First, we develop a systematically organized set of specific phenomena of developmental canalization on the one hand, and of institutionalized or social-structure based canalization on the other. Second, we offer a discussion of a set of scenarios that show how these specific psychological and society-generated processes may play together to shape individuals’ life courses and life-span development.

Anticipation and agency over time: A focus on meso-level dynamics

Publication date: September 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 41

Author(s): Diana Kuh

How plans change: Anticipation, interferences and unpredictabilities

Publication date: September 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 41

Author(s): Claire Bidart

The purpose of this article is to examine the way in which individuals consider their futures, what happens to these anticipations over time and where the unpredictabilities that disrupt the realization of these expectations are located. These reflections are based on a qualitative longitudinal survey conducted over 20 years (1995–2015) with six waves, among a panel of young people entering adult life in Normandy (France). I propose to explore empirically why their anticipations frequently remain unrealized and what factors intervened in a predictable or unpredictable way and diverted the life course from what had been anticipated. We will then see that these changes are due mainly to the interdependencies between the different levels and domains of life and to the effects of time which produces synchronizations, shifts and coincidences between these levels and domains. The interdependencies apply not only to lives following their course, but also to the turning points that brought them to change direction. It becomes crucial to take into consideration theoretically and empirically the disruptions that occur over the life course rather than considering individuals’ lives as following simple linear trajectories. The analysis of turning points highlights the relevant elements of the life course, the decisive factors and the changes in priority, which are made more conscious and explicit by the respondents than in more stable sequences. A lifecourse theory must integrate these unpredictabilities, interferences and reorientations which are part of the complex processes at stake.

Adding life to one’s added years: Self- regulatory balancing of life domains across old age

Publication date: September 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 41

Author(s): Christopher M. Napolitano, Alexandra M. Freund

The life course cube: A tool for studying lives

Publication date: September 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 41

Author(s): Laura Bernardi, Johannes Huinink, Richard A. Settersten

This paper proposes a conceptualization of the life course as a set of behavioral processes characterized by interdependencies that cross time, life domains, and levels of analysis. We first discuss the need for a systematized approach to life course theory that integrates parallel and partially redundant concepts developed in a variety of disciplines. We then introduce the ‘life course cube,’ which graphically defines and illustrates time-domain-level interdependencies and their multiple interactions that are central to understanding life courses. Finally, in an appendix, we offer a formal account of these interactions in a language that can be readily adopted across disciplines. Our aim is to provide a consistent and parsimonious foundation to further develop life course theories and methods and integrate life course scholarship across disciplines.

Introduction to the special issue “Theoretical and methodological frontiers in life course research”

Publication date: September 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 41

Author(s): Laura Bernardi, Johannes Huinink, Richard A. Settersten

Publisher’s Note

Publication date: September 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 41

Author(s):

Editorial Board

Publication date: September 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 41

Author(s):

On heuristics, theoretical foundations, accounting schemes and theories

Publication date: September 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 41

Author(s): Karl Ulrich Mayer

From the life-course cube to an open state-space system

Publication date: September 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 41

Author(s): Ingrid Schoon

Methodological diversity in life course research: Blessing or curse?

Publication date: September 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 41

Author(s): Aart C. Liefbroer

Mechanisms of family formation: an application of Hidden Markov Models to a life course process

Publication date: Available online 29 July 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research

Author(s): Sapphire Yu Han, Aart C. Liefbroer, Cees H. Elzinga

Life courses consist of complex patterns of correlated events and spells. The nature and strength of these correlations is known to depend on both micro- and macro- covariates. Life-course models such as event-history analysis and sequence analysis are not well equipped to deal with the processual and latent character of the decision- making process. We argue that Hidden Markov Models satisfy the requirements of a life course model. To illustrate their usefulness, this study will use Hidden Markov chains to model trajectories of family formation. We used data from the Generations and Gender Programme to estimate Hidden Markov Models. The results show the potential of this approach to unravel the mechanisms underlying life-course decision making and how these processes differ both by gender and education.

Destandardization in later age spans in Western Germany: Evidence from sequence analysis of family life courses

Publication date: Available online 30 April 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research

Author(s): Okka Zimmermann

Prior research has suggested that destandardization is a phenomenon that does not affect all aspects of the life course uniformly. There is, however, no existing evidence from a holistic perspective that different life phases are affected by destandardization differently, even though this is likely to be the case in light of prior research on the pluralization of living arrangements and the destandardization of life course events. This question is particularly salient in the German context, as previous research has shown that standardization has characterized the early life phases in Germany, whereas destandardization has been dominant in many other European countries. Analyses of family life courses in Western Germany using data from the National Educational Panel Survey (NEPS) provide evidence that both postponement and the increasing diversity of union types cause destandardization in later life phases, and that this process is most pronounced during the phase in which individuals often start a family (i.e., in their early thirties). Overall, these findings suggest that the comparative analysis of destandardization in different age spans can help to provide a comprehensive picture of life course change.

Who makes the decision to have children? Couples’ childbearing intentions and actual childbearing

Publication date: Available online 16 April 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research

Author(s): Ann-Zofie Duvander, Susanne Fahlén, Maria Brandén, Sofi Ohlsson-Wijk

This study investigates how the childbearing intentions of women and men in couples affect actual childbearing over the following years with the aim to explore whether women’s or men’s intentions may be more important. The study is set in Sweden, a country known for ranking high in terms of gender equality and a country with relatively high fertility. We use the Young Adult Panel Study (YAPS), which gives information about both partners’ long-term childbearing intentions in 2009, and follow these couples for five years with register data on childbearing. In 30 percent of the couples, both partners intended to have a child, and out of these about three quarters have a child. The results show that, in general, both partners need to intend to have a child for the couple to do so but that women’s intentions tend to have more influence over the decision to have a second or third child. This phenomenon is interpreted as decision-making in relation to the cost and utility of children for women and men.

Grandparenthood in China and Western Europe: An analysis of CHARLS and SHARE

Publication date: Available online 16 November 2018

Source: Advances in Life Course Research

Author(s): Jing Zhang, Tom Emery, Pearl Dykstra

Grandparenthood is a fascinating research area that not only brings together three generations and multiple roles in different life domains, but also echoes social contexts across historical times and places. Comparative research on grandparenthood, however, rarely includes non-western countries. This article seeks to answer the question of how grandparenthood differs between Western Europe and China by using comparable representative surveys of older adults. We extend the literature in two ways by showing that: 1) compared to Western Europe, becoming a grandparent occurs earlier and is virtually universal in both Urban and Rural China – the probability of being a grandparent is over 80% for Chinese by the time they are 55, while the same cannot be said for Western Europeans until they are aged between 70 and 80; and 2) the role-overlaps with grandparenthood are different for older Chinese and Western Europeans. The probability of being a working grandparent in Rural China is about twice that in Western Europe, while the rate is similar to Western Europeans for Urban Chinese. Chinese grandparents are also more likely to live with their children than Western Europeans. Conversely, as all family transitions come earlier for Chinese but life expectancy is shorter, the probabilities that grandparenthood overlaps with widowhood and filial roles are similar to that in Western Europe. Taken together, this study provides an overarching picture of the characteristics of grandparenthood in different societies that are fundamental to the meaning, performance, and impact of grandparental roles and relevant to a better understanding of grandparenthood worldwide.

Parent-child relationships and interracial first union formation in the United States

Publication date: December 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 42

Author(s): Jenjira J. Yahirun, Rhiannon A. Kroeger

The family of origin was once considered an important “third party” in shaping offspring romantic relationships. However, the increased independence of young adults challenges this idea by suggesting that parents today may have less control over children’s romantic lives than prior generations. Drawing on a “linked lives” framework, this paper uses data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health and discrete-time competing risks event history analysis to examine whether an individual’s relationship with parents during adolescence affects entry into first unions with same- or different-race partners in young adulthood. Findings suggest that stronger parent-child ties in adolescence deterred entry into any union in young adulthood– same-race or interracial, relative to forming no unions. However, stronger intergenerational ties were associated with an increased likelihood of forming same-race unions versus interracial unions. When the definition of union was expanded to include direct marital first unions versus cohabiting first unions, results suggest that stronger intergenerational ties increased the likelihood of same-race versus interracial cohabiting first unions, but did not significantly influence same-race versus interracial direct marital first unions. Analyses by respondent race indicate few differences among Whites and non-Whites. These findings highlight the potential for parental influence on young adults’ romantic relationships in an era of increasing family diversity.

Identification of developmental trajectory classes: Comparing three latent class methods using simulated and real data

Publication date: December 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 42

Author(s): Jitske J. Sijbrandij, Tialda Hoekstra, Josué Almansa, Sijmen A. Reijneveld, Ute Bültmann

Introduction

Several statistical methods are available to identify developmental trajectory classes, but it is unclear which method is most suitable. The aim of this study was to determine whether latent class analysis, latent class growth analysis or growth mixture modeling was most appropriate for identifying developmental trajectory classes.

Methods

We compared the three methods in a simulation study in several scenarios, which varied regarding e.g. sample size and degree of separation between classes. The simulation study was replicated with a real data example concerning anxiety/depression symptoms measured over 6 time points in the Tracking Adolescent Individuals’ Lives Survey (TRAILS, N = 2227).

Results

Growth mixture modeling was least biased or equally biased compared to latent class analysis and latent class growth analysis in all scenarios. In TRAILS, the shapes of the trajectories were rather similar over the three methods, but class sizes differed slightly. A 4-class growth mixture model performed best, based on several fit indices, interpretability and clinical relevance.

Conclusions

Growth mixture modeling seems most suitable to identify developmental trajectory classes.

The de-standardisation of the life course in Portugal. A cross-cohort analysis using entropy analysis

Publication date: December 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 42

Author(s): Vasco Ramos

This article addresses the question of life course de-standardisation in Portugal, drawing on a trajectory-based holistic approach. The de-standardisation hypothesis presupposes that, over recent decades, occupational and family trajectories became gradually more variable. Our methodological strategy to test these hypotheses uses entropy measures and assesses how cohort and gender influence standardisation. We used these measures to determine the heterogeneity in co-residence and occupational trajectories between the ages of 7 and 35. In a second stage, we used regression models to estimate if cohort, gender, education and socio-economic class associate with co-residence and occupational entropy. The paper draws on data from the ‘Family Trajectories and Social Networks: The life course in an intergenerational perspective’ research project (n = 1500), which included questions on co-residence and work employment history of Portuguese individuals born in three different cohorts (1935-40; 1950-55; 1970-75). Findings show that standardisation and de-standardisation dynamics coexist, operating differently depending on the life domain and the stage of life. While early family trajectories are more standardised in younger cohorts, later stages are slightly more diverse, particularly among women. As far as occupational trajectories are concerned, formative years are much more standardised in the younger cohort, while adulthood is de-standardised in all cohorts. We discuss results in light of the life course regime and gendering hypotheses.

Palestinian widows in Israel: Between the Hammer and the Anvil

Publication date: December 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 42

Author(s): Tal Meler

Palestinian women in Israel have a marginal social status which stems from the intersection of being part of an ethnic minority and of a patriarchal society. This low status is further exacerbated by widowhood. The present qualitative study, based on semi-structured interviews among 16 Palestinian widows in Israel, sought to explore strategies employed by these women to cope with financial and social challenges owing to the structural complexity at the interface of state law, religious law, and custom. The findings show that these women are forced to remain single to avoid losing property and child custody, both which may be legally claimed by the late husband’s extended family. In addition, the findings demonstrate different forms of agency the women employ in the face of the tight control of their lives by the husband’s extended family. Policy changes would ameliorate the complexity of the circumstances affecting Palestinian widows in Israel.

Crisis, recession and social resilience: A biographical life course analysis

Publication date: December 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 42

Author(s): Jane Gray, Jennifer Dagg

This article examines social resilience to the economic crisis and recession across three ‘generational cohorts’ of Irish people, using a mixed biographical life course approach. Drawing on narrative interviews and individual lifelines conducted as part of a cross-national European study, we describe and explain how age-differentiated lives and times intersected with ill-timed transitions and patterns of inter-generational relations, leading to variations in resilient future orientations. Our analysis yields three key findings. First, failed expectations for intra-generational social mobility, combined with inter-generational obligations, gave rise to negative future orientations amongst those in mid-life. Second, the crisis created multiple negative life changes that compounded the accumulated costs of poorly timed transitions and adverse experiences within biographies. The effect of this varied by generational cohort, life course stage (with its implications for inter-generational obligations), gender and social class. Third, both life course stage and biographical experience affected peoples’ orientations towards the future, with implications for their resilience.

Influence of social connections on smoking behavior across the life course

Publication date: December 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 42

Author(s): Mieke Beth Thomeer, Elaine Hernandez, Debra Umberson, Patricia A. Thomas

Although we know much about demographic patterns of smoking, we know less about people’s explanations for when, how and why they avoid, develop, or alter smoking habits and how these explanations are linked to social connections across the life course. We analyze data from in-depth interviews with 60 adults aged 25–89 from a large southwestern U.S. city to consider how social connections shape smoking behavior across the life course. Respondents provided explanations for how and why they avoided, initiated, continued, and/or quit smoking. At various times, social connections were viewed as having both positive and negative influences on smoking behavior. Both people who never smoked and continuous smokers pointed to the importance of early life social connections in shaping decisions to smoke or not smoke, and viewed later connections (e.g., marriage, coworkers) as less important. People who quit smoking or relapsed tended to attribute their smoking behavior to social connections in adulthood rather than early life. People who changed their smoking behavior highlighted the importance of transitions as related to social connections, with more instability in social connections often discussed by relapsed smokers as a reason for instability in smoking status. A qualitative approach together with a life course perspective highlights the pivotal role of social connections in shaping trajectories of smoking behavior throughout the life course.

The inseparability of human agency and linked lives

Publication date: December 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 42

Author(s): Scott D. Landes, Richard A. Settersten

The notion that people make choices and take actions that determine the outcomes of their lives – human agency – is a central principle of the life course paradigm. Unfortunately, conceptualizations of agency, like larger developmental and sociological theories, often assume that agency is limited to individuals who are “developmentally normal.” We draw upon the thought of social scientists and disability scholars, as well as the life history of a woman with intellectual disability, to address the logical, ethical, and empirical flaws of this assumption. To rectify these problems, life course theory and research should pay greater attention to how agency is interwoven with another central principle of the life course paradigm: linked lives. This principle is that an individual’s life cannot be understood in isolation of their interdependencies with other persons. Although human agency and linked lives are discussed as separate principles of the life course, they are not separate in lived experience. We demonstrate that, for all people and at all times in life, human agency is dependent upon interpersonal relationships. It is therefore imperative to examine intersections of agency and linked lives in order to more fully and accurately understand life course dynamics in diverse populations. Human agency is profoundly affected by interpersonal relationships and other social factors. Because agency and linked lives are inseparable, agency cannot be conceptualized as an individual characteristic of ‘independent’ actors. We conclude by discussing how life course research can more fully attend to the relationship between agency and linked lives.

Family formation trajectories across borders: A sequence analysis approach to Senegalese migrants in Europe

Publication date: December 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 42

Author(s): Elisabeth Katharina Kraus

This article examines the relationship between the timing of international migration and family formation trajectories (union formation and fertility) of Sub-Saharan African migrants in Europe. Longitudinal life-history data from Senegalese migrants in France, Italy and Spain, collected as part of the Migrations between Africa and Europe (MAFE) project are used. Applying sequence analysis techniques and distinguishing between men and women, individuals are grouped into different clusters according to the (dis-)similarities in their family formation trajectories before and after migration. Furthermore, multinomial logistic regression models are used to test associations between individual and contextual characteristics and the obtained clusters. The results show important differences between men and women regarding their migration-family formation trajectories. Moreover, the interrelatedness of family and migration events was more pronounced among women than men. The regression analysis indicates that male and female trajectories are related in particular to age and the country of destination, but there are also differences by educational level. The findings stress the importance of differentiating between men and women when studying the family formation behavior of migrants.

Social differentials in the effect of formal childcare on the transition to parenthood?: An assessment of varying effects by education, working hours and migration background

Publication date: December 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 42

Author(s): Jonas Wood

Although the hypothesis that formal childcare reconciles work and family life – and thus stimulates the transition to parenthood – is theoretically well-grounded and partially empirically supported, available literature has hitherto insufficiently acknowledged differential effects by population subgroups. This is remarkable as population subgroups are likely to exhibit different labour market opportunities and opportunity costs of childbearing, varying attitudes toward work-family combination and the use of formal childcare, and differential institutional knowledge with respect to formal childcare. Using unique register-data for the complete residential Belgian population at the turn of the century, this study applies random and fixed effects hazard models to assess varying associations between local childcare availability and dual earner fertility by level of education, working hours and migration background. Results indicate that lagged variation in childcare coverage across and within municipalities over time is positively associated to first birth hazards for all types of dual earner couples. Whereas varying effects by level of education indicate social differentiation in the sense that the positive impact of local childcare coverage is stronger for highly educated couples, differences by working hours and migration background are more limited and insignificant. The Belgian context provides an excellent laboratory to address this topic for two reasons. First, as a result of its top-ranked position with respect to formal childcare during the 2000s, the results are of interest to countries with lower formal childcare coverage. Second, Belgium exhibits considerable social differentials in labour market opportunities, the uptake and benefits of formal childcare.

Editorial Board

Publication date: December 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 42

Author(s):

Childhood socioeconomic circumstances, social status, and health in older age: Are they related in China?

Publication date: December 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 42

Author(s): Qing Wang, Wenwen Kang

It is well known that in western countries, people with disadvantaged socioeconomic circumstances during childhood are at a significantly higher risk of ill health in older age. This study further questions whether in China, individuals’ different childhood socioeconomic circumstances and social status continue to affect their life-long health. Furthermore, do later-life socioeconomic circumstances affect health so that childhood conditions no longer play a significant role? The influence of social mobility and accumulation was also tested. The analysis was based on the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) 2013 and CHARLS life history survey. Health outcomes were measured based on self-reported health, disability for activities of daily life, depression symptoms, and cognitive impairment. In addition to measurements of childhood, the analysis included current socioeconomic circumstances, current health behaviors, and demographic characteristics. Using ordered logit or logit and Ordinary Least Square (OLS) regression models, the study shows the existence of the association between childhood conditions and later health in China. After adjusting for current socioeconomic circumstances, social status was no longer related to later health. However, childhood socioeconomic circumstances still significantly influenced health at a later age. Advantaged socioeconomic circumstances in the life course (high stability) provided the best protection for later health. However, moving downward—that is, experiencing childhood socioeconomic advantage but later-life socioeconomic disadvantage—was the most detrimental to later health. Overall, this study provides new evidence from China to support the notion that health in older age is related to dynamic processes structured by the social stratification system. Thus, this study emphasizes an integrated health policy based on the premise of maximizing health over the entire life course.

Family formation patterns of children who experienced parental imprisonment

Publication date: Available online 11 November 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research

Author(s): S.G.A. van de Weijer, H.S. Smallbone, V. Bouwman

While it is widely recognized that imprisonment affects the lives of prisoners, there is increasing evidence that the consequences also extend to prisoners’ children. Recently, several studies showed that the experience of parental imprisonment could also have an impact on family formation processes when children grow older. These previous studies, however, used relatively short follow-up periods, up to adolescence or early adulthood. The current study uses a Dutch multigenerational dataset with follow-ups at, on average, age 28 (N = 1147) and 47 (N = 1241), which makes it possible to also examine life events that usually occur later in life. Official registration data were used to examine the relationship of parental offending and parental incarceration with offspring’s family formation patterns. Results show that children who experienced parental imprisonment were less likely to marry than those with parents who were never convicted. However, when they did marry, it was at a younger age and more often while being pregnant. Children of prisoners were also younger when they had their first child. Most of these differences were also found while comparing children of prisoners with children of convicted but not imprisoned parents. This suggests that these different family formation patterns are specifically related to the imprisonment of the parent rather than to the parent’s criminal behavior.

Unemployment delays first birth but not for all. Life stage and educational differences in the effects of employment uncertainty on first births

Publication date: Available online 10 November 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research

Author(s): Anneli Miettinen, Marika Jalovaara

This study investigates how unemployment is associated with the transition to parenthood among men and women in times of increased instability in the labour market. We provide novel insights into how education and life stage might modify the link between unemployment and fertility. We focus on a Nordic welfare state, Finland, and apply event history models to a rich register sample covering the years 1988–2009 (N = 306,413). We find that unemployment or a weaker labour market attachment tends to delay parenthood among both men and women, but the association is stronger for men. In most groups, the accumulation of unemployment periods is associated with a lower rate of entry into parenthood. However, among young, low-educated women, even long-term or recurring unemployment seems to promote first childbearing, and the generally negative association between unemployment and entry into parenthood does not apply to young, low-educated men. The effect of unemployment is largely mediated by the low income of unemployed persons. Overall, our findings suggest that in a modern, gender-egalitarian welfare society, better employment prospects promote transition to parenthood in a very similar fashion among men and women, but the effects are strongly modified by education and life course stage.

The impact of job uncertainty on first-birth postponement

Publication date: Available online 26 September 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research

Author(s): Daniele Vignoli, Valentina Tocchioni, Alessandra Mattei

This paper aims to advance our understanding of entry into employment with uncertain conditions in Italy and its causal impact on the onset of the fertility process. We adopt the potential outcome approach to causal inference so as to quantify the net effect of having a first job with a temporary or a permanent contract on the propensity to have a first child within the first five years of employment. The analysis is based on retrospective data from the nationally representative 2009 Family and Social Subjects survey. Our results suggest that 7% of potential first-birth postponement among women and 5% of potential postponement among men is attributable to jobs with uncertain conditions. These individuals would have had a first child if they had had a permanent job. For women, potential postponement is elevated among those with higher education (reaching 16%), while for men potential postponement is especially visible among those with low and medium education. With this paper we quantify a non-negligible negative effect for early exposure to labour market uncertainties on potential first-birth postponement in Italy.

Using longitudinal designs and online micro-narrative data to further our understanding of biography and the life course

Publication date: September 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 41

Author(s): Oliver C. Robinson

What autobiographical narratives tell us about the life course. Contributions of qualitative sequential analytical methods

Publication date: September 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 41

Author(s): Betina Hollstein

The paper discusses the benefits of certain qualitative approaches to data collection and analysis for research into the life course. These methods of data collection (i.e., the extempore narrative interview by Schütze) and sequential analytical approaches of data analysis (i.e., narration analysis by Schütze and documentary analysis by Bohnsack and Nohl) provide unique insight that can address some of the current challenges and open questions of life course research. This is because the sequential analysis of autobiographical narrative interviews makes it possible to distinguish between reported and experienced life history and to reconstruct tacit knowledge and action orientations, which are partly unconscious. In particular, autobiographical extempore narrations offer unique avenues to understanding biographical decision-making and the layers of biographical experiences and planning, to investigating the question of how individuals link different spheres of life, and to exploring different types of agency and thus driving forces of a person’s life course. To illustrate the potential of these methods, data from a project on modes of living in the German middle class are presented that illuminate biographical decision-making in the transition to the labor market.

Quantitative methods of life course research: Make use of diversity, but always know what you are doing

Publication date: September 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 41

Author(s): Michael Windzio

Life course research with panel data: An analysis of the reproduction of social inequality

Publication date: September 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 41

Author(s): Josef Brüderl, Fabian Kratz, Gerrit Bauer

Panel data are increasingly used in life course research. However, such data would be under-analyzed if only classical methods of life course research (i.e., event-history analysis and sequence analysis) would be used for analyzing them. Methods developed for the analysis of panel data have been shown to be valuable to life course research as well. In this article we emphasize that growth curve modeling and fixed effects regression in particular can supplement the life course research toolbox.

In order to demonstrate this, we provide an illustrative panel data analysis using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel from the years 1984–2014 in combination with a classical sociological research question on the reproduction of social inequality. Reinterpreted within the life course framework, we ask: Is there a well-being differential over the life course between people from different social origins? If yes, what is the mediating role of unemployment?

Results show that higher social origin indeed relates to higher well-being, and that the well-being differential increases with age. Further, unemployment plays no significant role in mediating origin-specific effects of age on well-being.

Beyond the Cross-Lagged Panel Model: Next-generation statistical tools for analyzing interdependencies across the life course

Publication date: September 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 41

Author(s): Marcus Mund, Steffen Nestler

For decades, researchers have employed the Cross-Lagged Panel Model (CLPM) to analyze the interactions and interdependencies of a wide variety of inner- or supra-individual variables across the life course. However, in the last years the CLPM has been criticized for its underlying assumptions and several alternative models have been proposed that allow to relax these assumptions. With the Random-Intercept CLPM, the Autoregressive Latent Trajectory Model with Structured Residuals, and the Dual Change Score Model, we describe three of the most prominent alternatives to the CLPM and provide an impression about how to interpret the results obtained with these models. To this end, we illustrate the use of the presented models with an empirical example on the interplay between self-esteem and relationship satisfaction. We provide R and Mplus scripts that might help life course researchers to use these novel and powerful alternatives to the CLPM in their own research.

Setting research priorities in developing approaches for the life course

Publication date: September 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 41

Author(s): Eva Lelièvre

Holistic analysis of the life course: Methodological challenges and new perspectives

Publication date: September 2019

Source: Advances in Life Course Research, Volume 41

Author(s): Raffaella Piccarreta, Matthias Studer

We survey state-of-the-art approaches to study trajectories in their entirety, adopting a holistic perspective, and discuss their strengths and weaknesses. We begin by considering sequence analysis (SA), one of the most established holistic approaches. We discuss the inherent problems arising in SA, particularly in the study of the relationship between trajectories and covariates. We describe some recent developments combining SA and Event History Analysis, and illustrate how weakening the holistic perspective—focusing on sub-trajectories—might result in a more flexible analysis of life courses. We then move to some model-based approaches (included in the broad classes of multistate and of mixture latent Markov models) that further weaken the holistic perspective, assuming that the difficult task of predicting and explaining trajectories can be simplified by focusing on the collection of observed transitions.

Our goal is twofold. On one hand, we aim to provide social scientists with indications for informed methodological choices and to emphasize issues that require consideration for proper application of the described approaches. On the other hand, by identifying relevant and open methodological challenges, we highlight and encourage promising directions for future research.

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