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02.02 Childrearing in Diverse Family Structures: Behavior and Fairness

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Aim of the project
The project aims at a detailed description and understanding of biological parents’ child involvement across diverse family structures in the Netherlands, and of the importance of fairness thereby.

Theoretical background
The organization of childrearing has become less self-evident over the last decades due to the increase in women’s labor market position and the increase in complex families due to the rise in divorce and remarriage. Most research so far focused on intact families with most attention being paid to the division of household labor, and not so much to the division of childcare. The organization of childrearing in more complex families following divorce has received less attention. Moreover, how principles of fairness regulate perceptions about parenting and parenting behavior is overlooked, particularly in case of complex families. We argue that insights from sociology and philosophy are necessary to get a better understanding of childrearing. The organization of childrearing in intact and complex families will be studied, with the latter being divided in different household structures based on residence arrangement of the child after divorce (mother residence, father residence, or shared residence) and marital status of the parent after divorce (single or cohabiting/married). In addition, parents’ perceptions of fairness of the organization of childrearing and their relation with parenting behavior is examined in both intact and complex families.

Research design
New Families in the Netherlands (NFN; Poortman et al., 2014) is a unique survey to use for this project, because it includes a large sample of complex families as well as intact families. The sample of complex families includes a relatively large number of parents in less common residence arrangements (i.e., father, shared residence), which allows a comprehensive examination of childrearing behavior across a full variety of residential contexts. The survey further contains detailed information about parents’ fairness judgements regarding childrearing and parents’ childrearing behavior.

Tara Koster

Prof. dr. ir. Tanja van der Lippe
Prof. dr. Anne-Rigt Poortman
Prof. dr. Pauline Kleingeld 

University of Utrecht, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences 

Sociology, Philosophy

September 1, 2017 - August 31, 2021