The Long-term Influence of Marital Breakdown in Divorced Families upon their Children’s Socioeconomic Achievements in China
Zhang Chunni;Department of Sociology, Peking University;
Family disruption is one of the important factors that degrade the socioeconomic status of a child in the family. Research in the West has documented that parental divorce not only is negatively associated with educational and psychological outcomes in a person's childhood and adolescence, but also leads to long-term disadvantages in his/her adulthood. The divorce level in China has begun to climb rapidly since the 1980 s. Most of the children who experienced parental divorce in the 1980 s and 1990 s have already grown up. This provides a rare opportunity to investigate the long-term consequences of parental divorce for children's socioeconomic achievements in China. Using the data from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Survey, this study examines the effects of parental divorce and the death of a parent on their children's educational attainments, occupational achievements, and income after age 25. The results show that men with parental divorce attained lower education, compared with those with comparable socioeconomic origin but without parental divorce. But apart from this, there is no evidence showing that parental divorce may make additional direct effects upon their adult children's occupation or earnings. The results also support the "social origin compensatory effect" hypothesis, as divorced families in China were positively selected for their higher socioeconomic status, and highly educated urban parents were able to minimize the negative impact of divorce on their children's development. Nevertheless, these children would have attained higher achievement if their lives had not been disrupted by parental divorce.
【CateGory Index】： D669.1;D669.5