Early life course family structure and children’s socio-emotional and behavioural functioning: a view from Australia

Perales, Francisco, O'Flaherty, Martin and Baxter, Janeen (2015). Early life course family structure and children’s socio-emotional and behavioural functioning: a view from Australia. LCC Working Paper Series 2015-12, Institute for Social Science Research, The University of Queensland.

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Author Perales, Francisco
O'Flaherty, Martin
Baxter, Janeen
Title Early life course family structure and children’s socio-emotional and behavioural functioning: a view from Australia
School, Department or Centre Institute for Social Science Research
Institution The University of Queensland
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Series LCC Working Paper Series
Report Number 2015-12
Publication date 2015-06-01
Total pages 26
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Children’s early life experiences are important not only for their contemporary wellbeing, but also for their subsequent life outcomes as adolescents and adults. Research from developed countries has demonstrated that children in one-parent and reconstituted families, have worse socio-emotional and behavioural functioning than children from ‘normative’ or ‘intact’ families. We use recent Australian data from a nationally representative birth cohort study to examine the associations between family structure and children’s socio-emotional and behavioural outcomes. We contribute to the literature in two ways: by testing whether previously established relationships in the US and the UK apply in Australia, and by deploying an innovative life course methodological approach that pays attention to the accumulation, patterning and timing of exposures to different family types during childhood. As in other countries, children in Australia who spend time in one-parent or reconstituted families experience more socio-emotional and behavioural problems than other children. Such differences disappear when accounting for socio-economic capital and maternal mental health. This suggests that providing additional income and mental health support to parents in vulnerable families may contribute to mitigating children’s socio-emotional and behavioural difficulties in Australia.
Keyword Child wellbeing
Socio-emotional development
Family structure
Poverty
Life course methods
Australia
Institutional Status UQ

 
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Created: Tue, 16 Jun 2015, 17:35:37 EST by Mary-Anne Marrington on behalf of Institute for Social Science Research