Online Program

Varied priorities and changing attitudes towards traditional parenting partnerships in a diverse New York city sample

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 10:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Emily Nell, CUNY Institute for Demographic Research, City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, NY
Lindsay Fram, MPH, School of Public Health, City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, NY
Alison Kliegman, MPH, School of Public Health, City University of New York Graduate Center, New York, NY
Amy Kwan, MPH, Department of Community, Society and Health, The Graduate Center, CUNY School of Public Health, New York, NY
Diana Romero, PhD, MA, Community Health and Social Sciences, City University of New York Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, New York, NY
Background: Recent decades have witnessed a well-documented shift in family formation. This shift is due, in part, to changing attitudes toward traditional parenting partnerships (“traditional parenthood”) characterized by a heterosexual couple first marrying, followed by having and raising children together, with the intention of a lifelong, monogamous commitment. Methods: The Social Position and Family Formation (SPAFF) study set out to capture these changing attitudes in young adults by conducting in-depth interviews (IDIs) among African Americans, Hispanics, and Whites, ages 18 to 35, across all income levels, living in the New York metropolitan area. Results: Preliminary findings from qualitative analysis of 200 IDIs suggests a typology of attitude toward traditional parenthood with 3 elements: committed to it; recognize it as the ideal, but accept that it was/will not be the reality for most; dismiss it. This classification seems to be informed by individuals' perceptions and actual benefits or disadvantages of traditional and nontraditional parenthood, which focus on themes of financial security, personal well-being, and a childcare network. Notably, respondents not committed to traditional parenthood identify meaningful benefits offered by nontraditional parenthood in these same three categories. Findings from ongoing analysis will expand our understanding of how contemporary parenting partnerships are formed and whether differences exist by gender, race/ethnicity and/or social position. Implications: Given the heightened focus on US demographic trends in family structure and concern for familial/child wellbeing, the findings from this research will inform social and public health policy on how to best support different models of American family formation.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Compare the three typologies of attitude toward traditional parenthood. Discuss commonly held misconceptions regarding benefits and disadvantages of nontraditional parenthood in the context of the national shift toward greater acceptance of nontraditional parenthood.

Keyword(s): Partnerships

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently participating in a working group analyzing in-depth qualitative interviews with adults of varying economic positions and race/ethnicity about social position and family formation. As a demography fellow at the CUNY Institute for Demographic Research I am also a Research Associate at the LIS cross-national data center, focusing on child poverty in middle-income countries. Furthermore, I have 5 years of experience working in research on a variety of population and reproductive health projects.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.