PASSAGE THROUGH MIDLIFE: Women's Changing Family Roles and Economic Well‐Being

Ken R. Smith, Phyllis Moen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Life course researchers have recently examined the effects of normative and non‐normative pathways into adulthood but little theoretical or empirical attention has been directed at the manner and type of transitions through the middle years of the life span for women. Women in midlife typically watch their last child leave the home and significant numbers also experience the dissolution of their marriages, either by divorce or widowhood. Using data from thirteen waves of the University of Michigan Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we find that the occurrence, sequencing, and timing of these two events greatly affect both women's labor force attachment and their economic well‐being. These findings suggest new directions for conceptualizing midlife transitions for women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-524
Number of pages22
JournalSociological Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1988


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