Women’s Family-Formation Attitudes in Korea: Impacts of Life-Stage Transitions

Erin Hye-Won Kim, National University of Singapore
Adam Cheung, National University of Singapore

Women’s attitudes towards family formation are key correlates of various family processes and outcomes, such as marriage, childbearing, parenting, and division of household labor. Researchers often assume that such attitudes are static and that they determine behaviors, not the reverse. However, relevant evidence is scarce particularly in Asia. Using longitudinal data from the Korean Longitudinal Survey of Women and Families, we examine (1) how attitudes toward family formation differ by cohorts, (2) how the attitudes change over time, and (3) how important life-stage transitions (including marriages, divorces, childbirths, school-to-work transitions, leaving parent’s home, and parental deaths) explain the between-cohort differences and the within-cohort changes. Preliminary results show that older cohorts are more traditional than younger ones and the difference is explained to some extent by varying experiences of life-stage transitions. Over a relatively short period of time, family attitudes remain largely stable. These findings provide important theoretical and policy implications.

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Presented in Session 48: Rethinking Gender and Family in the Transition to Adulthood