Family Formation in an Era of Family Change (ICPSR 34478)

Principal Investigator(s): Landale, Nancy S., Pennsylvania State University. Department of Sociology


Using data from Wave I, II, and III of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (ADD Health), the goal of this research was to provide a comprehensive analysis of the family formation behavior of young men and women in the contemporary United States. In particular, this study examined cohabitation, childbearing (non-marital and marital), and marriage up to the age of 25. This study differs from most prior research on early family formation in four key respects. First, the conceptual framework brings together theories, perspectives, and methods from the fields of family demography and human development. Using theories drawn from both fields, the study analyzed the influence of individual and social environmental characteristics in adolescence on cohabitation, marriage, and parenthood in emerging adulthood. Second, the research focused both on specific family formation transitions and on the trajectories generated by the timing and sequencing of family formation behaviors, education, and employment. Third, in addition to analyzing the social demographic and developmental precursors of family formation behaviors, the study also explored the implications of family formation patterns for psychosocial well-being in emerging adulthood, including psychological and behavioral adjustment, psychosocial maturity, and intimate relationship quality. Fourth, this project paid rigorous attention to the roles of race/ethnicity and gender in the processes of early family formation and in the implications for well-being of divergent family formation patterns.

Access Notes

  • These data are not available from ICPSR. Users should consult the data owners directly for details on obtaining these resources.

Study Description


This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    child rearing, children, families, family structure, household composition, living arrangements, marriage, parents, young adults

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Data Collection Notes:

These data are not available from DSDR or ICPSR. Researchers should consult the principal investigator directly for details on obtaining access to the data and documentation:

Dr. Nancy S. Landale

717 Oswald Tower

Department of Sociology

Pennsylvania State University

State College, PA 16802