The Parents' Story
Eighty-eight percent of both the fathers and mothers participated in the 1983-84 study. Among the remaining 12 percent, the mother served as the respondent most of the time. We found, returning to the families four and a half years after our second study, that 83 percent of the parents were still married to their original partners; six had divorced before 1979 and two after 1979. Three of the parents were separated. Half of the divorced couples had remarried. The mother had custody of the children in four families, the father in two, there was joint custody in two, and each parent had custody of at least one child in three families. In four of the families the father died, and in one family both parents died before 1979 and the children had been reared by older siblings.
The fathers' median age was 44.4 years and the mothers' 43.5 years. In 1984, 72 percent of the mothers were employed full-time outside their homes, almost all of them in technical and white-collar positions as teachers, nurses, secretaries, and so on. Sixty-six percent of the fathers continued to work in professional fields as lawyers, ministers, teachers, professors, and doctors. Most of the others were in business. The median "family" income was $44,000 (based on 92 responses). The median for the mothers was $12,000 (based on 45 responses) and for the fathers $35,000 (based on 62 responses).
The strength and form of their religious attachments remained much the same as they had been in earlier years. Of the 80 percent who designated a religious preference, 19 percent are Catholics, 2 percent are Jews, and the others are Protestants, with Lutheranism named most often by 20 percent of those who reported a religious preference. Fifty-two percent said that they went to church at least once a week. Forty-eight percent of the mothers and 46 percent of the fathers said that they prefer the Democratic over the Republican party; 53 percent of the mothers and 48 percent of the fathers described them-