Pathways to Adulthood and Marriage: Teenagers’ Attitudes, Expectations, and Relationship Patterns. Endnotes


1. For teens missing information for their household in 1999, we used data from earlier waves. A small number of teens (approximately 200 out of a sample of 6,646) did not have information on household income in waves 1997 through 1999. For these teens, we imputed income status based on race and family structure.

2. These questions are only available for teens who were 15 or 16 years old at the time of the 1999 survey wave. Therefore, these analyses are restricted to 15 and 16 year olds. To keep the analysis focused on marital relationships, we exclude the small number of teens (3 percent of our sample) living with cohabiting parents.

3. The NLSY97 included six questions about the mother’s behavior toward the father and six questions about the father’s behavior toward the mother. The wording of the questions was the same, with the exception of the pronouns (for example, she, he). To create a single measure of parents’ behavior towards one another, the responses to these questions were summed and divided by 12. Questions on negative behaviors were reverse-coded before being summed (see NLSY97 Appendix 9 documentation for additional details).

4. These differences between boys and girls were statistically significant.

5. This information is only available for sample members who were 15 or 16 years old at the time of the survey. If the teens’ biological parents had spoken with each other at least once in the past year, the teens were asked to rate the behaviors of their biological parents on a seven-point scale (from 0=‘as hostile as you can imagine’ to 7=‘very friendly’). The question was asked separately for their mother’s behavior towards their father and their father’s behavior towards their mother. For this measure, we analyzed the teens’ average response to the two questions (behavior of mother towards father and father towards mother). Teens who said the behavior was hostile to unfriendly were categorized as ‘unfriendly;’ ‘mixed’ includes teens who reported mixed or neutral responses; and ‘friendly’ refers to teens who said their parents were friendly or very friendly to one another.

6. The “divorced parent” group represents all formerly married parents with whom sample members reside. We are unable to determine whether divorced parents were ever married to the teen’s other biological parent. Therefore, there may be a small proportion in the formerly married category who were not married to the teen’s other parent, but instead married and divorced another person.

7. In MTF. teens were asked, “On average, how often do you go out with a date?” The response categories were: never, once a month or less, two to three times a month, once a week, two to three times a week, or more than three times a week. In the figures presented here, respondents were coded as dating if they gave any response to this question other than “never.” These rates of dating are somewhat lower than those presented in earlier sections, which are based on the NLSY97. There are two likely reasons. First, in the NLSY97, teens were asked directly whether they had ever dated, a somewhat different question from what is asked on the MTF survey. Second, the NLSY97 results on dating included all teens, whereas the time trends presented here are restricted to those enrolled in 12th grade. It is likely that teens who have dropped out of school are more likely to date and have sexual intercourse than those who remain in school.

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