Direct correspondence to Matthijs Kalmijn, Tilburg University, Department of Social Cultural Sciences, P.O. Box 90153 Warandelaan 2, Building S, Room S188, 5000 LE Tilburg, Netherlands. Phone: +31 (0)13-466-2246, Fax: +31 (0)13-466-3002. E-mail: M.Kalmijn@uvt.nl.
Matthijs Kalmijn; Gender Differences in the Effects of Divorce, Widowhood and Remarriage on Intergenerational Support: Does Marriage Protect Fathers?. Social Forces 2007; 85 (3): 1079-1104. doi: 10.1353/sof.2007.0043
There are well-known gender differences in the form and content of extended family relationships. This paper examines how fathers and mothers differ in the support they receive from children and how this depends on whether the parents divorce, become widow(er)s, enter a new relationship, and have new children. The guiding hypothesis is that because women are “kinkeepers,” the position of fathers vis-à-vis mothers deteriorates outside of marriage. Analyses are based on 8,040 parent-child dyads obtained from a Dutch survey. Positive evidence is obtained for the hypothesis. Although fathers already receive less support from children than mothers while married, this difference is larger when fathers are not married. This is not only true for a divorce that occurred early in the life of the child, but also for late divorces. Moreover, during the stage of widowhood, gender differences are increased as well. Remarriage and new children have further negative effects, and these effects are also stronger for fathers than for mothers.