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Marriage From a Child's Perspective: How Does Family Structure Affect Children, and What Can We Do About It?

Publication Year: 
Personal Author: 
Moore, K. A.
Jekielek, S. M.
Emig, C.
Technical Report
Page Count: 

Research has found that children living with both biological parents in a low-conflict marriage have higher levels of well-being than children living with stepparents or in single parent households. Although most children whose biological parents are not married have positive outcomes, they are more likely than children of intact families to be poor and have academic and behavior problems. Studies also have found that children of cohabiting couples do not fare as well as children of married couples because they have a less stable living arrangement. Negative outcomes for children of nonmarried parents are attributed to poor relationships with their parents, less access to their father, low levels of supervision, and family conflicts that occur during divorce or separation. Trend analyses indicate that the proportion of children living with only one biological parent is increasing because of the growth in divorce rates, births to unmarried women, cohabitation, and economic independence for women. The literature suggests several strategies for promoting family stability, including preventing teen pregnancy and nonmarital childbearing by adults and providing incentives for unmarried parents to marry. 46 notes, 2 figures.