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Müller, Bettina and Castiglioni, Laura (2015): Stable Relationships, Stable Participation? The Effects of Partnership Dissolution and Changes in Relationship Stability on Attrition in a Relationship and Family Panel. In: Survey Research Methods, Vol. 9, No. 3: pp. 205-219 [PDF, 141kB]


Underrepresentation of life changes is an important issue for panel studies, which are designed to describe such changes. Effects of changes in partner and marital status on attrition have so far been evaluated for several multi-scope and income related panel studies, though not for studies explicitly covering relationship and family topics. This paper examines the effects of reported partnership dissolution and changes in subjective relationship stability on participation in a panel with a focus on relationship and family. We consider both living apart together (LAT) and cohabiting relationships. Using 2008-2014 data from the German Family Panel pairfam (panel analysis of intimate relationships and family dynamics), our analyses support previous findings. Reported separation negatively affects the next wave's participation probability. Effects can be found at the contact as well as cooperation stage of the response process, whereas cooperation only appears to be affected among respondents in LAT relationships. Changes in subjective relationship instability are not strongly associated with participation in the pairfam study.

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