CitationBeller, Andrea H. & Slade, Alexander N. (2012). The role of family structure in the evolution of health from adolescence to young adulthood. 2012 Add Health Users Conference. Bethesda, MD: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carolina Population Center.
AbstractThe incidence of intact two-biological-parent families has been steadily decreasing since the 1960s, lowering the well-being of children. While the majority of studies examine educational attainment, family structure may also affect human capital obtained through health investments. We utilize both the biological father and marital history questions in the Add Health Wave I parental interview to paint a dynamic portrait of the child’s living arrangements from birth to age 15. We then estimate both static logit models on Wave I data and discrete-time hazard models on data from Waves I through IV to test the hypotheses that growing up in a single-parent family increases the likelihood of smoking and adverse physical and mental health outcomes, commonly measured by self-reported health status, obesity, and depression. We find that boys whose biological father was absent during early childhood are more likely to continue smoking and remain in adverse physical health after Wave I. While Wave I health outcomes respond to childhood family structure more for girls than for boys, the adverse effects tend to be limited to adolescence in girls, but to last through young adulthood in boys. We also find that step- and cohabiting-father entrance diminishes the effects of biological-father absence. Our findings suggest that spending time in non-intact families during childhood may have negative consequences after adolescence, but entry of other fathers can mitigate some of them.
Reference TypeConference proceeding
Book Title2012 Add Health Users Conference
Author(s)Beller, Andrea H.
Slade, Alexander N.