Journal Article

TEENAGE FAMILY LIFE, LIFESTYLES AND LIFE CHANCES: ASSOCIATIONS WITH FAMILY STRUCTURE, CONFLICT WITH PARENTS AND JOINT FAMILY ACTIVITY

HELEN SWEETING, PATRICK WEST and MARTIN RICHARDS

in International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family

Volume 12, issue 1, pages 15-46
Published in print April 1998 | ISSN: 1360-9939
Published online April 1998 | e-ISSN: 1464-3707 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/lawfam/12.1.15
TEENAGE FAMILY LIFE, LIFESTYLES AND LIFE CHANCES: ASSOCIATIONS WITH FAMILY STRUCTURE, CONFLICT WITH PARENTS AND JOINT FAMILY ACTIVITY

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This paper draws on data from a longitudinal study of a cohort of around 1,000 young people living in the West of Scotland. It investigates the associations between four aspects of family life in mid adolescence (family structure, reason for family disruption, time spent in joint family activities and parent-adolescent conflict) and a range of indicators of current lifestyle and future life chances (health-related and delinquent behaviours; heterosexual intercourse, pregnancy and partnership formation; educational achievement and labour market position). Results show different ‘outcomes’ to be associated with different aspects of family life, the most consistent relationships occurring in respect of time spent in family activities. The majority of relationships remained after accounting for material deprivation and, apart from the association between reason for family disruption and sexual behaviour, were the same for males and females. Most of the relationships between the different aspects of family life and ‘outcome’ were independent, although some of the associations with family structure could be accounted for by differing levels of time in joint activities. The results are discussed in terms of the meaning of each aspect of family life in contemporary society, and the importance of considering the effects of both structural and process aspects of family life is emphasized.

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Subjects: Family Law ; Marriage and the Family

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