9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN13 Sociology of Families and Intimate Lives

2009-09-04 13:30:00 2009-09-04 15:00:00 Friday, 4 September 13:30 - 15:00 Partnerships Building II, Auditório B1.04

The influence of the family of origin on the intermarriage attitude: A sibling analysis of the Netherlands

The present study examines the influence of the family of origin on Dutch people´s attitudes towards having ethnic minority members as kinsmen through marriage, using models of sibling resemblance estimated on a large-scale multi-actor survey. Although the family is traditionally seen as an important context for the development of attitudes, it is surprisingly how little we know about the role of the family for ethnic attitudes. A sibling analysis makes it possible to estimate the total influence of the family, based on the similarity in attitudes between siblings in later life. In this study we also set out to explain this influence. The family is believed to be of importance for attitudes through socialization and the intergenerational transmission of social positions. In addition to these general mechanisms, we test whether also current family characteristics relate to the intermarriage attitude, and therefore may account for the influence of the family of origin. First, close and tight families might foster the preference to interact with persons who are culturally similar, because people from a different cultural background can be seen as threatening the cultural identity and solidarity of one´s own group. Second, warm and supportive family relations might relate to less resistance to intermarriage via a higher generalized sense of trust or psychological well-being.
Analyses (N=1,792) show that more than a quarter of the variance in the intermarriage attitude can be attributed to the family of origin. A substantial part of the family influence can be explained by the parental intermarriage attitude, and the transmission of social positions, such as educational attainment and religiosity. In addition, the results reveal that also current family characteristics are relevant for the intermarriage attitude, and therefore account for the family variance. On the one hand, tight family ties expressed through family interaction and the adherence to family norms, are related to less acceptance of ethnic intermarriage. On the other hand, warm and supporting family relations appeared to be related to more acceptance of ethnic intermarriage.