Relationship trajectories and their connections to the completed number of children : a sequence analysis for women born between 1924 and 1966

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Title: Relationship trajectories and their connections to the completed number of children : a sequence analysis for women born between 1924 and 1966
Alternative title: Parisuhdehistoriat ja niiden yhteys lasten määrään : sekvenssianalyysi 1924-1966 syntyneistä naisista
Author: von Lerber, Milja
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences
Helsingfors universitet, Statsvetenskapliga fakulteten
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2021
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Degree program: Sosiaalitieteiden maisteriohjelma
Master's Programme in Social Research
Magisterprogrammet i sociala vetenskaper
Specialisation: Sosiologia
Abstract: Previous studies have indicated that short cohabitation spells are associated with childlessness. However, there is little detailed knowledge of relationship trajectories and their implications to the completed number of children other than childlessness in Finland. In addition, previous studies mainly focused on residential relationships, and non-residential relationships were seldom studied. This study provides an overview of different relationship trajectories for women born in 1924-1966 and explores the connections between the complete trajectories and the number of biological children. The relationship trajectories were established using longitudinal retrospective data. This study utilized sequence analysis that visualizes the relationship stages on the life course forming a relationship trajectory. The trajectories were clustered to reveal prominent patterns in the data, and the connection between the clusters and the number of children was explored. Additionally, the changes that occurred in the different cohorts were investigated to reveal historical patterns. The results indicate that most women born between 1924 and 1966 dated, cohabitated, and married before the age of 30 and stayed with the same partner, resulting in a steady pattern of 2 or more children. If a divorce occurred, the number of children depended on whether the individual married again. Long-term cohabitation was connected with a lower number of children. Lack or postponement of long-term relationships often resulted in a significantly smaller number of children. The connection between the first relationship and the first marriage got weaker over time, and the trajectories marked by more complex partnership histories and long-term cohabitation increased. Relationship trajectories shape childbearing outcomes in distinct ways. The study increases knowledge about the processes of relationships and childbearing in the changing landscape of family formation.
Subject: Relationship trajectories
sequence analysis
relationship history
number of children
Subject (yso): parisuhde
biologiset lapset

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