Leaving lone parenthood: analysis of repartnering patterns in the U.K.
Alexandra J. Skew, University of Essex
Jane C. Falkingham, University of Southampton
Ann Berrington, University of Southampton
Despite a wealth of research in the U.K. on the stock of lone parents, in recent years there has been a lack of research on the flows into and out of lone parenthood. With the use of longitudinal data collected by the British Household Panel Survey during the period 1991-2004, this study is able to capture lone mothers at the point of entering lone motherhood and analyse their repartnering patterns over subsequent waves. Specifically it examines the timing to repartnering and how this varies by a number of demographic and socioeconomic factors (both fixed and time-varying). Of particular interest is the covariate indicating ‘type’ of lone mother, which is determined by the route into lone motherhood for each woman, for example through the breakdown of a union (either marital or cohabiting), or through the birth of a child whilst single and never-married, and how this is related to the timing of repartnering. It also investigates whether the effect of covariates on the probability of repartnering changes over the length of time spent as a lone mother. Event history analysis indicates that age is the most important factor in leaving lone motherhood, while the duration is not related to the probability of repartnering. A mixture of demographic and socio-economic factors are also important, including type of lone mother. However, we find that the breakdown of a cohabiting union has a negative effect on the odds of repartnering compared to being separated from a marital union, a finding which contrasts with results of previous studies which have investigated repartnering in general. Further analysis using a competing risk model will allow the effect of the different type of lone mother on the risk of moving into a cohabiting union as opposed to a marriage to be tested for.