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Partnership Instability and Child Well-being

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  • Cynthia Osborne

    (University of Texas, Austin)

  • Sara McLanahan

    (Princeton University)

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    Abstract

    We use data from three waves of the Fragile Families Study (N = 2,111) to examine the prevalence and effects of mothers’ partnership changes between birth and age 3 on children’s behavior. We find that children born to unmarried and minority parents experience significantly more partnership changes than children born to parents who are married or White. Each transition is associated with a modest increase in behavioral problems, but a significant number of children experience three or more transitions. The effects of instability do not depend on the mothers’ relationship status or race/ethnicity with one exception: instability has a stronger effect on aggression among Hispanic children. The association between instability and behavior is mediated by maternal stress and lower quality mothering.

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    File URL: http://crcw.princeton.edu/workingpapers/WP04-16-FF-Osborne.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing. in its series Working Papers with number 946.

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    Date of creation: Mar 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:pri:crcwel:wp04-16-ff-osborne

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    Web page: http://crcw.princeton.edu/
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    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Marcia Carlson & Sara Mclanahan & Paula England, 2004. "Union formation in fragile families," Demography, Springer, vol. 41(2), pages 237-261, May.
    2. Donna Ginther & Robert Pollak, 2004. "Family structure and children’s educational outcomes: Blended families, stylized facts, and descriptive regressions," Demography, Springer, vol. 41(4), pages 671-696, November.
    3. Case, Anne & Lin, I-Fen & McLanahan, Sara, 2000. "How Hungry Is the Selfish Gene?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(466), pages 781-804, October.
    4. Nancy Reichman & Hope Corman & Kelly Noonan, 2004. "Effects of child health on parents’ relationship status," Demography, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 569-584, August.
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    Cited by:
    1. Paula Fomby & Cynthia Osborne, 2008. "The Relative Effects of Family Instability and Mother/Partner Conflict on Children’s Externalizing Behavior," Working Papers 1077, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    2. Robin S. Högnäs & Marcia J. Carlson, 2009. "Intergenerational Relationships and Union Stability in Fragile Families," Working Papers 1174, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    3. Lawrence M. Berger & Sara S. McLanahan, 2011. "Child Wellbeing in Two-Parent Families: How Do Characteristics and Relationships Matter?," Working Papers 1322, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    4. Sharon H. Bzostek & Marcia J. Carlson & Sara S. McLanahan, 2006. "Does Mother Know Best?: A Comparison Of Biological And Social Fathers After A Nonmarital Birth," Working Papers 919, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    5. Chan, Kwok Ho & Fung, Ka Wai Terence, 2013. "The Effect of Social Fathers on the Cognitive Skills of Out-of-Wedlock Children," MPRA Paper 52875, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Terry-Ann Craigie, 2008. "Effects of Paternal Presence and Family Stability on Child Cognitive Performance," Working Papers 1015, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    7. Laura Tach & Ronald Mincy & Kathryn Edin, 2010. "Parenting as A “package deal”: Relationships, fertility, and nonresident father involvement among unmarried parents," Demography, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 181-204, February.
    8. Natasha V. Pilkauskas, 2012. "Instability in Three-Generation Family Households and Child Wellbeing," Working Papers 1429, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    9. Sharon Bzostek & Audrey Beck, 2008. "Family Structure And Child Health Outcomes In Fragile Families," Working Papers 1081, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    10. Audrey Light & Yoshiaki Omori, 2012. "Determinants of Long-Term Unions: Who Survives the “Seven Year Itch”?," Working Papers 12-02, Ohio State University, Department of Economics.
    11. Lawrence M. Berger & Marcia J. Carlson & Sharon H. Bzostek & Cynthia Osborne, 2007. "Parenting Practices of Resident Fathers: The Role of Marital and Biological Ties," Working Papers 901, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    12. Carey E. Cooper & Cynthia A. Osborne & Audrey N. Beck & Sara S. McLanahan, 2008. "Partnership Instability and Child Wellbeing during the Transition to Elementary School," Working Papers 1078, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    13. Rachel Goldberg, 2013. "Family Instability and Early Initiation of Sexual Activity in Western Kenya," Demography, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 725-750, April.
    14. Audrey N. Beck & Carey E. Cooper & Sara S. McLanahan & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, 2009. "Relationship Transitions and Maternal Parenting," Working Papers 1131, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    15. Monica Grant & Sara Yeatman, 2014. "The Impact of Family Transitions on Child Fostering in Rural Malawi," Demography, Springer, vol. 51(1), pages 205-228, February.
    16. Marcia J. Carlson & Sara S. McLanahan, 2009. "Fathers in Fragile Families," Working Papers 1189, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    17. Kathleen Kiernan & Sara McLanahan & John Holmes & Melanie Wright, 2011. "Fragile Families in the US and UK," Working Papers 1299, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    18. Cynthia Osborne & Lawrence Berger & Katherine Magnuson, 2012. "Family Structure Transitions and Changes in Maternal Resources and Well-being," Demography, Springer, vol. 49(1), pages 23-47, February.
    19. Terry-Ann Craigie & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn & Jane Waldfogel, 2010. "Family Structure, Family Stability and Early Child Wellbeing," Working Papers 1275, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    20. Paula Fomby, 2013. "Family Instability and College Enrollment and Completion," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 32(4), pages 469-494, August.
    21. Marcia J. Carlson & Lawrence M. Berger, 2010. "What Kids Get from Parents: Packages of Parental Involvement across Complex Family Forms," Working Papers 1272, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    22. Carey E. Cooper & Audrey N. Beck & Robin S. Högnäs, 2011. "Maternal partnership instability and coparenting Maternal Partnership Instability and Coparenting among Fragile Families," Working Papers 1305, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    23. Marcia J. Carlson & Alicia G. VanOrman, 2013. "Trajectories of Couple Relationship Quality after Childbirth: Does Marriage Matter?," Working Papers 1481, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..

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