Childrearing, social contact, and depression: A structural analysis of the transition to parenthood
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractUsing a random sample of 368 parents of young children in Pima County, Arizona, this study examines the implications of childrearing for social networks. In addition to cross-sectional network data, the study includes retrospective measures of networks at two periods: just before the birth of the respondent's oldest child, and around the time of the oldest child's first birthday. These retrospective longitudinal data permit a detailed assessment of stabilities and changes in parents' social contact patterns, and a discussion of their implications. Expectant parents occupy distinct structural positions related to the timing of parenthood in the life course, relationship status, ethnicity, and gender. In the year following parenthood, many of these differences are attenuated, suggesting that parenthood is itself a unique social position that may reduce the distinguishing power of other structural parameters. But while the networks of parents are, as a whole, more similar to each other than those of expectant parents, gender differences in network characteristics appear to be somewhat enhanced over the transition to parenthood. Cross-sectional data show that involvement in the domestic sphere, rather than sex-category, is especially predictive of network structure. The patterns identified here Will lead to more precise conceptualization and measurement of gender processes, as roles in work, marriage, and parenting gain increasing flexibility.
Degree ProgramGraduate College