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Family structure and child well-being in Uruguay: The role of family stability, family structure and father involvement

Wanda Cabella, Universidad de la Republica
Teresa Castro, CSIC
Teresa Martin Garcia, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)
Ignacio Pardo, Universidad de la Republica

Parenting in single-parent families –when the child’s biological mother is single or there is a non-resident father after a union breakup– means the custodial parent is left with less time to spend with the children (she must be both provider and carer). Consequently, female-headed families may place children at a disadvantage. Is this disadvantage persistent or it be lessened if the non-resident father is involved in childrearing? We aim to examine a) how children’s well-being differs according to family structure and family stability; and b) whether the involvement of the non-resident father tempers or enhances the differences between family types. We use longitudinal data from the three waves of the National Survey on Early Childhood Health, Nutrition, and Development from Uruguay, to measure family instability -through family structure at birth and across three waves of data– and child outcomes. Outcomes are measured using the Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL), school achievement and overweight. Preliminary results show that family structure correlates with the total number of problems of the child, as measured by CBCL scores, even when control variables are taken into account.

Keywords: Family demography, Longitudinal studies, Children and youth

See extended abstract.

  Presented in Session 142. The Influence of Family Structure and Dynamics on Children's Health and Wellbeing