How Families Still Matter: A Longitudinal Study of Youth in Two Generations

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Are family influences on youth declining in importance? Are parents less important in shaping the life orientations and achievements of youth than they were a generation ago? What about the consequences of divorce? How Families Still Matter casts doubt on the conventional wisdom about family decline during the last decades of the twentieth century. The authors draw from the longest-running longitudinal study of families in the world—the Longitudinal Study of Generations, conducted at the University of Southern California—to discover whether parents are really less critical in shaping the life choices and achievements of their children than they were a generation ago. They compare the influence of parents on the Baby Boomer generation with that of Baby Boomer parents on their own Generation-X children—and their findings are surprising. Vern Bengtson holds the AARP/University Chair in Gerontology and is Professor of Sociology at the University of Southern California. Bengtson has received the Reuben Hill Award from the National Council of Family Relations (1980 and 1986); the Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Sociological Association's section on aging (1995); the Robert W. Kleemeier Award from the Gerontological Society of America (1996); and the Ernest W. Burgess Award from the National Council on Family Relation (1998). Timothy J. Biblarz is Associate Professor and Graduate Director in the Sociology Department at the University of Southern California. His papers have appeared in the American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Journal of Marriage and the Family, Social Forces, and other journals. Robert E.L. Roberts is Professor of Sociology at California State University, San Marcos. His articles have appeared in Social Psychology Quarterly, Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, Journal of Marriage and Family, and Sociological Quarterly.

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Editorial Reviews

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"...well-written and accessible to a wide readership. It contributes to the literature on welfare policies, gender and caregiving, and comparative welfare regimes. The volume is a great resource for welfare scholars and policy makers, as well as for activists for gender equality." Journal of Marriage and Family

"[W]hat these researchers explored and some of the conclusions they reported can only be described as courageous. Many of their findings go against the prevailing sociologic tide..." Metapsychology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521804233
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/18/2002
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Table of Contents

1. Families, generations, and achievement orientations of youth; 2. Models and methods of intergenerational influences; 3. The changing contexts of family life since the 1960s; 4. Educational and occupational aspirations of youth across generations; 5. Self-esteem: self-confidence and self-deprecation of youth; 6. Value orientations: youth's individualism and materialism across generations; 7. Continuity and change in family influences across generations; 8. Why families still matter.

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