Family structure differences in the timing of leaving home: Exploring mediating factors

Teresa M. Cooney, Jeylan T. Mortimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Eight years of panel data are used in an event history analysis to examine the association between family structure and departure from the parental home for over 700 youth. Specifically, we focus on several possible mediators in this relationship (parent-child relationship quality, household work efforts, psychological efficacy, family income and personal income, peer involvement, and one's own childbearing) to determine whether they alter the strength of family structure as a predictor of home leaving. Single-parent family structure predicts early home leaving for girls, whereas boys face a greater likelihood of leaving home across all 8 years of observation if they reside with a single parent. Stepfamily structure also predicts daughters' increased home leaving after high school. The variables that reveal the strongest mediating effects for daughters are having one's own child and doing more housework, with both increasing the likelihood of early departure. For sons, the effects of family structure are not substantially mediated by any of the variables under consideration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-393
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Research on Adolescence
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999


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