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The Kids Are OK: Divorce and Children's Behavior Problems

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  • Jui-Chung Allen Li
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    Abstract

    Social scientists and commentators disagree on how much of the association between parental divorce and child well-being is causal. This paper reexamines the claim that parental divorce is detrimental to children's emotional well-being, measured in terms of behavior problems. The author analyzed panel data from the 1986-2002 waves of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979, and found that parental divorce is associated with a higher level of behavior problems in children. However, after controlling for unobserved factors that are either constant over time or change at a constant rate over time, the effect of parents' divorce substantially declines and its influence on their children's emotional well-being is not statistically significant.

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    File URL: http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/working_papers/2007/RAND_WR489.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by RAND Corporation Publications Department in its series Working Papers with number 489.

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    Length: 56 pages
    Date of creation: May 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ran:wpaper:489

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    Keywords: divorce; children;

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    1. Gary Painter & David I. Levine, 2000. "Family Structure and Youths' Outcomes: Which Correlations are Causal?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(3), pages 524-549.
    2. Linda Waite, 1995. "Does marriage matter?," Demography, Springer, vol. 32(4), pages 483-507, November.
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