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Good Things Come in Threes: Single-parent Multigenerational Family Structure and Adolescent Adjustment

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  • Thomas DeLeire
  • Ariel Kalil

Abstract

Using data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study (NELS), we find that teenagers living in non-married families are less likely to graduate from high school or attend college, more likely to smoke or drink, and more likely to initiate sexual activity. However, not all non-married families are alike. In particular, teenagers living with their single mother and with at least one grandparent in a multigenerational household have developmental outcomes that are at least as good and often better than outcomes of teenagers in married families. These findings obtain controlling for a wide array of economic resources, parenting behavior, and home and school characteristics.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas DeLeire & Ariel Kalil, 2001. "Good Things Come in Threes: Single-parent Multigenerational Family Structure and Adolescent Adjustment," JCPR Working Papers 242, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:242
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    1. Kathryn Edin, 1999. "What Do Low-Income Single Mothers Say About Marriage?," JCPR Working Papers 100, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    2. Cameron, Stephen V & Heckman, James J, 1993. "The Nonequivalence of High School Equivalents," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 1-47, January.
    3. Frank Mott, 1990. "When is a father really gone? Paternal—Child contact in father-absent homes," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 27(4), pages 499-517, November.
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