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Arland Thornton photo

Intergenerational Panel Study of Parents and Children

Publication Abstract

Thornton, Arland, Ronald Freedman, and William G. Axinn. 2002. "Intergenerational Panel Study of Parents and Children." In Looking at Lives: American Longitudinal Studies of the Twentieth Century edited by Erin Phelps, Frank F Furstenberg and Anne Colby. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Describes a longitudinal study begun in 1962 in Detroit, MI, with a probability sample of 1,304 married white women who had borne a child the previous year. The study became intergenerational in 1980 as these children reached age 18 & were included in data collection. Interviews conducted with mothers & children through 1993 yielded a total of 8 waves of data, which are used to examine fertility preferences & patterns as a function of family characteristics, as well as to compare intergenerational patterns. Though results clearly documented the emergence of a "baby bust" in Detroit at the study's beginnings that replaced the postwar baby boom, in line with the fertility decline occurring in the rest of the US, they were less clear in identifying the determinants of this phenomenon. Changes in the study's goals & protocols over time to take account of larger social changes, eg, increases in the divorce rate & in women's labor force participation, are described, along with adjustments made when the research became intergenerational, eg, a shift in focus to the influence of maternal attitudes & behaviors on those of children. Special methodological issues inherent in the evolution of such long-term panel studies are considered. 56 References. K. Hyatt Stewart.

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