Brown is a family demographer whose research examines the patterns and implications of the rapid transformation of American family life. She investigates the consequences of family change across the life course, focusing on family structure and instability among children as well as union formation and dissolution among adults. Her ongoing research includes several interrelated studies on intimate partnership dynamics (e.g., dating, cohabitation, marriage, and divorce) and their implications for the health and well-being of older adults.
Provides a descriptive profile of changes in children’s living arrangements over a 13-year span (1996–2009). Shows that we have reached a plateau in family complexity and that complexity is concentrated among the most disadvantaged families.
Tests competing hypotheses about the stability of same-sex versus different-sex cohabiting couples. Concludes that same-sex cohabiting couples typically experience levels of stability that are similar to those of different-sex cohabiting couples.
Examines whether low levels of fathers’ involvement and coparenting were linked to negative trajectories of mothers’ and fathers’ relationship quality for couples whose first child was born in marriage or cohabitation. Discusses the importance of the father role, not only for the well-being of the child but also for the relationship of the parents.