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Comprehensive Child Marriage Research Library

Educational Engagement and Early Family Formation: Differences by Ethnicity and Generation


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Glick, Jennifer E; Ruf, Stacey D; White, Michael J; Goldscheider, Frances

Journal Article

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Social Forces

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Students Against Child Marriage's Object Summary:

A multitude of socioeconomic factors are to blame for the American child marriage crisis. Tackling these social phenomena at the core is essential to ending child marriage once and for all. Previous research has suggested that decreases in school engagement and enrollment “is expected to delay the entrance into marriage or parenthood,” with measures of this engagement including “time spent on homework or participation in class” (p. 1393). Should this theory hold, one possible route towards curtailing child marriage might be working to actively prolong the enrollment of young female students and increase their academic engagement. Glick and her coauthors use data from the National Education Longitudinal Study to conduct a multinominal logistic regression model “likelihood of getting married, having a child or no family formation in late adolescence” (p. 1395-1396). Particular attention in their analysis is paid to crosstabulations across race and ethnicity. This decision yields fascinating findings with implications on how efforts should be coordinated in combating child marriage at the core. Glick et al. “confirm that that early family formation varies considerably across all four broad groups compared” (p. 1411). They do find, however, that increasing educational engagement can ultimately slow family formation and push the formation of marriages back several years.

Article Abstract (If Available):

This paper examines how school engagement influences the timing of family formation for youth. We pay particular attention to variation across four racial/ethnic groups and by generation status, variation that reflects the diversification of U.S. society through immigration. Using data from the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS), we employ discrete-time multinomial logistic regression models examining the likelihood of childbearing or marriage in late adolescence. We find that the delaying effects of school enrollment and engagement vary by race/ethnicity, suggesting that strategies for socioeconomic success that focus on delaying family roles are more important among some groups than others. The results also indicate that controlling for school enrollment and school engagement reduces differences in early marriage and non-marital childbearing by generation status. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

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