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Associations of Family Structure States and Transitions During Middle Childhood.

June 2007

Katherine Magnuson, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Lawrence M. Berger, University of Wisconsin—Madison.

Download 'working_paper07-15.pdf'.


Using longitudinal data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and Hierarchical Linear Models (i.e., multilevel models), we estimate associations of family structure states and transitions with children’s achievement and behavior trajectories during middle childhood. We consider whether these associations vary by children’s ages, as well as the quality of their home environments in early childhood. Results suggest that both residing in and transitioning to a single-mother family during middle childhood is associated with small increases in behavior problems. These associations are stronger for children who experienced higher quality home environments in early childhood. Results for transitions to and residence in step families are less consistent, although we find some evidence that residence in a step family may be associated with small short-term increases in behavior problems. We find little consistent evidence linking any types of family structure states or transitions to children’s achievement during middle childhood.

Child Well-being and Child Development, Marriage, Family Formation and Reproductive Issues