The changing pattern of entering adulthood. The first events of affective, sexual and family life among Italian cohorts 1937-1988

Marcantonio Caltabiano, UniversitĂ  di Messina
Maria Castiglioni, UniversitĂ  di Padova
Gianpiero Dalla Zuanna, University of Padua

In this paper we show how the events that mark the adulthood have changed in the Italian cohorts. These events concern both the personal and family life (end of school, first job, leaving the parental home, first cohabitation, first marriage, first birth) and the affective and sexual life (first masturbation, first petting experience, beginning of first affective relationship, first sexual intercourse). For the first time in Italy, it is possible to analyze the interconnection between sexual, family and personal life. DATA. We use the data of the new Italian Survey on Sexual Behavior (2006), that interviewed a representative sample of 3,000 people aged 18-69. Consequently, it is possible to describe the cohorts of men and women born in 1937-88, i.e., the people protagonist of the deep social, cultural and demographic changes occurred in Italy during the second half of the 20th century. METHOD. Since the events here considered are not repeatable, for each event and each cohort of males and females we calculate some simple indicators of the distribution by age: first quartile, median age, the proportion of people who experienced the event before some birthdays (15, 20, 30, 40). After having merged some cohorts, the same indicators may be calculated also for some groups of people (low educated vs. high educated; religious vs. not religious; born in Central Northern regions vs. born in the Southern regions…), in order to study the diffusion of changes over population. PRELIMINARY RESULTS. The most interesting preliminary result is the increasing similarity of affective, sexual and working life of males and females. Moreover, for both males and females the delay of leaving the parental home, marriage and first birth is confirmed.

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Presented in Session 6: Reproductive Issues in Low-Fertility Populations