A weak embrace: Popular and scholarly depictions of single-parent families, 1900 - 1998

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

The growth of single-parent families constitutes one of the most dramatic and most studied social changes of the 20th century. Evolving attitudes toward these families have received less attention. This paper explores depictions of these families in representative samples of popular magazine (N = 474) and social science journal (N = 202) articles. Critical depictions of divorce plummeted between 1900 and 1998, a trend stemming not from any increase in favorable depictions but from the virtual disappearance of normative debate. Such de facto acceptance did not extend to nonmarital childbearing, however, depictions of which were almost as likely to be critical at the century's end as at its beginning. These trends illustrate Americans' ambivalent embrace of single-parent families as a reality but not an ideal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-225
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Volume71
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2009

Keywords

  • Single-parent families
  • Social change
  • Social trends
  • Sociohistorical change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A weak embrace: Popular and scholarly depictions of single-parent families, 1900 - 1998'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this