Repartnering: the relevance of parenthood and gender to cohabitation and remarriage among the formerly married

R. Lampard, Kay Peggs

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This paper is an exploratory analysis of the impact of current and anticipated parenthood on cohabitation and remarriage among those formerly living in marriage-type relationships. The focus on children is embedded within a broader analysis of repartnering which takes account of other factors, including gender. Quantitative and qualitative analyses are used, with a multivariate analysis of repartnering patterns, using data from the General Household Survey, being complemented by in-depth interview data examining the attitudes of the formerly married to future relationships. The paper demonstrates that parenthood has a statistically significant effect on the likelihood of formerly married women repartnering, with a higher number of children being associated with a lower probability of repartnering. The presence of children can work against repartnering in a variety of ways. Children place demands on their parents and can deter or object to potential partners. Parents may see their parental role as more important than, and a barrier to, new relationships. However, mothers are typically looking for partners for themselves rather than fathers for their children. Among formerly married people without children, the desire to become a parent encourages repartnering. The paper concludes that parenthood should be a key consideration in analyses of repartnering.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-465
Number of pages23
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1999


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