Magic moment? Maternal marriage for children born out of wedlock.

Published

Journal Article

To test the existence of the "magic moment" for parental marriage immediately post-birth and to inform policies that preferentially encourage biological over step parent marriage, this study estimates the incidence and stability of maternal marriage for children born out of wedlock. Data came from the National Survey of Family Growth on 5,255 children born non maritally. By age 15, 29 % of children born non maritally experienced a biological-father marriage, and 36 % experienced a stepfather marriage. Stepfather marriages occurred much later in a child's life-one-half occurred after the child turned age 7-and had one-third higher odds of dissolution. Children born to black mothers had qualitatively different maternal marriage experiences than children born to white or Hispanic mothers, with less biological-parent marriage and higher incidences of divorce. Findings support the existence of the magic moment and demonstrate that biological marriages were more enduring than stepfather marriages. Yet relatively few children born out of wedlock experienced stable, biological-parent marriages as envisioned by marriage promotion programs.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gibson-Davis, C

Published Date

  • August 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 51 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 1345 - 1356

PubMed ID

  • 24990589

Pubmed Central ID

  • 24990589

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1533-7790

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0070-3370

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s13524-014-0308-7

Language

  • eng