Framework for Interpreting Long-Term Trends in Values and Beliefs Concerning Single-Parent Families

One of the most important trends of the last half of the 20th century was the dramatic rise in single-parent families through increases in divorce and nonmarital childbearing. Single parenthood was also increasing during the first part of the century, and it is likely that these behavioral changes were accompanied by changes in public opinion. Thornton discusses the family life in Western societies with an emphasis on marriage, divorce and childbearing and the important ideational forces changing values and beliefs concerning these behaviors.