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Familial instability and young children's physical health

Listed author(s):
  • Bzostek, Sharon H.
  • Beck, Audrey N.
Registered author(s):

    This paper uses recent longitudinal data about a cohort of young children born in the United States to mostly unmarried parents to examine the association between increasingly-complex patterns of family instability and physical health in early childhood. The analyses assess whether, and how, the association between family instability and child health varies across a number of family types. We consider several measures of children's health at age five (overweight/obesity, asthma diagnosis and overall health) and examine to what extent the association between family instability and child health varies across outcomes and depends on the number and timing of any familial transitions. We also explore a number of potential mechanisms through which family instability may affect child health. The results suggest that familial instability is related to worse child health, particularly among children born to coresident (married or cohabiting) biological parents and for children who experience high levels of residential instability.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953611002516
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 73 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (July)
    Pages: 282-292

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:73:y:2011:i:2:p:282-292
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    1. Sobal, Jeffery & Rauschenbach, Barbara & Frongillo, Edward A., 2003. "Marital status changes and body weight changes: a US longitudinal analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(7), pages 1543-1555, April.
    2. Marcia Carlson & Sara Mclanahan & Paula England, 2004. "Union formation in fragile families," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 41(2), pages 237-261, May.
    3. Wendy Sigle-Rushton & Sara McLanahan, 2002. "The living arrangements of new unmarried mothers," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 39(3), pages 415-433, August.
    4. Nancy Reichman & Hope Corman & Kelly Noonan, 2004. "Effects of child health on parents’ relationship status," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 41(3), pages 569-584, August.
    5. Wendy Sigle-Rushton & Sara McLanahan, 2002. "The Living Arrangements of New Unmarried Mothers," JCPR Working Papers 262, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    6. Jane Mauldon, 1990. "The effect of marital disruption on children’s health," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 27(3), pages 431-446, August.
    7. Arcia, Emily, 1998. "Latino parents' perception of their children's health status," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 46(10), pages 1271-1274, March.
    8. Kristen Harknett, 2009. "Why are Children with Married Parents Healthier? The Case of Pediatric Asthma," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 28(3), pages 347-365, June.
    9. Anne Case & Angela Fertig & Christina Paxson, 2004. "The Lasting Impact of Childhood Health and Circumstance," Working Papers 246, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
    10. Deborah Roempke Graefe & Daniel Lichter, 1999. "Life course transitions of American children: Parental cohabitation, marriage, and single motherhood," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 36(2), pages 205-217, May.
    11. Reichman, Nancy E. & Teitler, Julien O. & Garfinkel, Irwin & McLanahan, Sara S., 2001. "Fragile Families: sample and design," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4-5), pages 303-326.
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