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Research shows negative effects of half-siblings
Date:8/10/2013

NEW YORK CITY Adolescents who have half-siblings with a different father are more likely to have used drugs and had sex by age 15 than those who have only full siblings. That's according to new research from Karen Benjamin Guzzo, an assistant professor of sociology at Bowling Green State University, and Cassandra Dorius, an assistant professor of human development and family studies at Iowa State University.

Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth, they examined a phenomenon known as "multi-partnered fertility" or MPF. This happens when parents who are not romantically involved with each other form new relationships and have another child with a new partner.

"It's not new behavior, but it's happening more often as more people are having children outside of marriage," said Guzzo.

According to Guzzo, this is one of the first studies to examine the effect of parental MPF on children over the long-term, and the only study that takes into account background factors (such as the mother's level of education and household poverty) and the number of changes in family structure the adolescent experienced.

The researchers looked at the connections between this re-partnering and additional childbearing on adolescent drug use and early sex. They focused on mothers and first-born children who lived with their mother most of their lives.

"For children, MPF means having a half-sibling, but it also means, for first-born children, that they usually experienced their biological parents splitting up if they were together at all, lived in a single mother household for some time, experienced their mother finding a new partner at least once and perhaps lived with a stepfather, and finally experienced their mother having a baby with a new partner," Guzzo explained.

Researchers looked at the mother's educational background, her own family structure growing up, and whether the child experienced bouts of poverty.
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Contact: Daniel Fowler
pubinfo@asanet.org
202-527-7885
American Sociological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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