Changes in identity and social networks during the transition to parenthood. An empirical assessment in Switzerland
FORS - Pavie University of Lausanne Lausanne, Switzerland
Widmer, Eric D.
Dept of Sociology University of Geneva Geneva, Switzerland
Throughout their life course, individuals encounter a number of major transitions involving changes in social participation and lifestyles. The study of such transitions has been of interest in part because they are often times of upheaval in identity and in relationship with significant others (Ruble et al, 1990). Becoming a parent is usually described as one of the most significant developmental tasks in adulthood, marked by large changes in identity. Several longitudinal studies have started to identify the factors that may influence individual adjustment during the transition to parenthood. Few researches however have convincingly addressed the issue of stability and change of relationships with significant others throughout this transition. Neither is the impact of significant others on identity change occurring during this transition well understood. Based on a longitudinal survey of 230 couples living in the French part of Switzerland, in which both partners were interviewed in each case, we empirically assess the connections between the composition and relationships characterizing personal networks and various measures of identity for both men and women.