Parental Divorce and Socio-Economic Wellbeing: A Cross Cohort Comparison

Wendy Sigle-Rushton, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
John Hobcraft, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
Kathleen E. Kiernan, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

A substantial body of research demonstrates that children whose parents divorce are more likely to be disadvantaged on a range of outcomes. Few studies, however, have systematically examined whether or not these associations have remained stable over time. This is an important issue to explore because some theories suggest that the negative associations should have declined as divorce has become more commonplace. Using data from two British cohorts, born twelve years apart, we seek to assess whether or not the negative associations of family disruption have, in fact, changed. For each cohort, and for men and women separately, we estimate the effects of parental divorce on several measures of disadvantage. Taking advantage of the prospective nature of these data, we limit our sample to children whose families were intact at the first follow-up and control for some family and child characteristics that predated a disruption.

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Presented in Session 78: Family Structure and Child Outcomes