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Family stability may be more crucial than 2 parents for child success
Date:8/31/2009

22 in 1979 were interviewed annually from 1979 to 1994, and once every two years from 1996 forward. The NLSY also studied these participants' children and Kamp Dush used detailed information gathered on these children, who were between the ages of 4 and 15 between 1986 and 2004.

The full sample for her study included 4,910 mothers and 11,428 children.

She analyzed data on four variables for the children: reading and math test scores; a measure of behavioral problems; and a measure of home environment, which looked at levels of cognitive stimulation and emotional support.

But rather than comparing children based simply on whether they lived with married parents versus single parents, Kamp Dush examined family stability, as well. Stable single parent families were defined as those where the children always lived only with the single parent. Stable married families were those in which the children always lived with their married parents. Unstable families were those in which children underwent some transition in their parenting.

In one analysis, Kamp Dush matched pairs of mothers who were similar in nearly every way including family stability -- except one was married and one was not. She then examined how their children fared.

Results showed that for white and Hispanic children from stable single-parent and married families, there was no significant difference in math and reading test scores. However, black children had lower test scores if they lived in a single parent home than if they lived in a married home.

There were no significant differences in behavior problems for children of any race if they lived in stable single-parent homes or in stable married households.

The only consistent advantage among all races for children in married households was a better home environment in terms of cognitive stimulation and emotional support.

Overall, Kamp Dush said the results deliver good news to singl
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Contact: Claire Kamp Dush
Kamp-dush.1@osu.edu
614-247-2126
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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