Intergenerational continuity and stability in early family formation

Jennifer E. Lansford, Gregory S. Pettit, Amy Rauer, Carlynn E. Vandenberg, John E. Schulenberg, Jeremy Staff, Justin Jager, Kenneth A. Dodge, John E. Bates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This study examines intergenerational continuity (mean level similarity) and stability (maintenance of rank ordering of individuals) in age and marital status at the time of becoming a young parent using prospective data from 3 generations of 585 families. G2 participants were recruited at the age of 5 years and followed until the age of 28, by which time 227 had become parents themselves. The findings suggest that despite dramatic intergenerational discontinuities with young adults, on average, now being more likely to be unmarried and older at the time of becoming parents than in previous generations, intergenerational stability in age and marital status at the time of becoming a young parent is still substantial. This intergenerational stability was, for the most part, not moderated by demographic, familial, or behavioral factors, suggesting that a developmental, multigenerational perspective is necessary to understand what has previously been considered a largely demographic issue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)370-379
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • Developmental continuity and stability
  • Early family formation patterns
  • Intergenerational
  • Marital status
  • Timing of parenthood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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