Solo parenting: quality counts

NZ Herald September 21, 2007
Coming from a single-parent home does not necessarily disadvantage a child later in life, latest findings from a long-term New Zealand study have revealed. The paper, from Otago University’s Christchurch Health and Development Study and published in the US journal The Archives of General Psychiatry, says the major influences on how a child develops are not related to single parenthood but to how a family functions. Some international research has linked children from single-parent households to poorer economic wellbeing, education outcomes and a higher risk of criminal behaviour and mental health problems. Most of this research has tended to focus on childhood, and relatively little has been reported on the longer-term consequences of being reared in a single-parent family.Professor David Fergusson, who leads the long-running study, said the first part of the findings appeared to match conventional wisdom. “Those who’d been in single-parent families turned out to have more problems as adults than those that did not, particularly those who had been in single-parent families a long time.” But when the family context was taken into account, the differences disappeared.

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