Parental Separation, Child Time Investments and Life-Course Dynamics

Pablo Gracia , Trinity College Dublin
Tomas Cano, Goethe University of Frankfurt

This study uses unique longitudinal cohort time-diary data from six waves of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (2004–2014) to investigate how family breakdown influences children’s time use. Fixed and random effects models show that mothers compensate for parental divorce by sharply increasing time with children just after separation, yet this pattern declines over time. Father-child time remains low after marital separation. Parental separation leads to more time in unstructured activities, but it does not reduce children’s educational time, with generally modest differences by social background. Empirical results reveal strong gender differences in child time use following from parental separation. Boys increase their time in screen-based activities after parental separation, while girls augment their solo and educational time. Overall, children’s time use changes after parental separation in ways that are strongly gendered, which might crucially shape long-term gendered attitudes and roles among both parents and children.

See paper

 Presented in Session 106. Consequences of Union Dissolution