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Pathways to childlessness and late-life outcomes

Dykstra, P.A. and Wagner, M. (2007) Pathways to childlessness and late-life outcomes. Journal of Family Issues, 28, 1487-1517. ISSN 0192-513X.

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Via a simultaneous analysis of different life course pathways (marital, occupational, and childbearing histories) and different outcomes, this article addresses the question When does childlessness matter in late life and how? Survey data from Amsterdam (N = 661) and Berlin, Germany (N = 516) are used. Lifelong childlessness results in smaller networks among men and women in Amsterdam and Berlin, and in the Dutch sample it leads to higher income levels. Dutch men who have never had children and Dutch women who have outlived their children have relatively low life satisfaction levels. In Germany, marital history is a more powerful predictor of life satisfaction in old age than parental history. The findings attest to the importance of distinguishing lifelong childlessness from outliving one’s children and of considering the consequences of childlessness for a variety of life domains. Keywords: childlessness; income; life satisfaction; network size; normal expectable life course; parenthood; pathways

Item Type:Article
Institutes:Ned. Interdisc. Demografisch Instituut (NIDI)
ID Code:3950
Deposited On:28 Feb 2008 01:00
Last Modified:24 Apr 2012 16:49

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