May 21, 2024 | News

Congratulations Steffen Peters!

Mikko Myrskylä, Steffen Peters, Gunnar Anderson and Kieron Barclay. © private

Steffen Peters successfully defended his Phd thesis about “Who starts a family? The prospective association between psychological factors and family formation processes” at the Stockholm University.

Steffen Peters is part of the Laboratory of Social Demography and was part of The International Max Planck Research School for Population, Health and Data Science (IMPRS-PHDS), a three-year doctoral program that merges demography, epidemiology and data science. In his dissertation he addresses the role of psychological factors in family formation by examining personality, identity, and leadership skills in relation to marital behavior, childbearing, and union dissolution. The study uses data from Germany, Sweden, and Finland and employs methods such as event history analysis and Poisson regression models. It finds that personality traits such as extraversion, social maturity, agreeableness, and emotional stability positively influence marriage and fertility and reduce dissolution, especially for men. Identity factors such as commitment to future plans are positively associated with marriage. Leadership skills also show positive associations with marriage and fertility. The mediating role of socioeconomic status indicators (income, education) is found to be relatively small. Comparing siblings to control for genetic and parental background reveals similar patterns, suggesting that psychological factors independently influence family formation processes.

The dissertation was supervised by Kieron Barclay, Mikko Myrskylä and Gunnar Anderson.

Steffen will stay at the MPIDR as a Postdoc.

Related Publications and Working Papers

Peters, S.; Barclay, K. J.:
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2022-009. (2022)    


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The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.