Seminar of the Committee on Family Research 2012 location:Leuven date:12-14 September
In this paper, we focus on the question whether post-divorce family trajectories affect children’s
educational attainment. Education and family instability are associated in a complex way. First of
all, parents’ educational level is negatively linked to both children’s educational attainment and
family instability. In addition, family instability is associated with a lower educational level of
children. In this manner, divorce may function as a force of social inequality in society. Secondly,
parents’ educational level may also moderate the effects of divorce on children with children of
lower educated parents being more susceptible to negative educational outcomes after divorce.
This complex relationship is investigated using the Divorce in Flanders survey. First, a typology of
family trajectories for children with divorced parents is developed. Next, it is tested whether a
relation exists between parents’ educational level and these different types of family trajectories.
Finally, we investigate the effects of parents’ educational level and family trajectories on
children’s educational attainment. Here, we pay special attention to the potential moderating
effect of parents’ educational level on children’s educational outcomes.