Partnership Instability and Child Well-being
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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- 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.
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