Changes in Family Structure: The Consequences for Children's Well-Being.

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Year Published
Author (Individual)
Bachman, Heather J.
Coley, Rebekah Levine.
Carrano, Jennifer.
Author (Organization)
National Center for Family and Marriage Research.
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This study investigated the association of family structure and instability patterns with children's cognitive and socioemotional well-being among a sample of low-income, primarily Hispanic and African American children. Analyses employed longitudinal data from the "Three-City Study" to track maternal partnerships; data were stacked across the three waves, leading to a sample size of 2,216 children aged 2 to 11 years. Children in married-parent households scored higher in reading and math skills and lower in internalizing and externalizing problems than children in single-parent households. In contrast, measures of recent and cumulative instability were largely unrelated to child wellbeing. The family structure and instability findings remained robust to selection controls and were generally not moderated by current status or the male partner's identity (biological or social father). (Author abstract)

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