A Comparison of Children Living in Single-Mother and Single-Father Families
ABSTRACT Research comparing children living in single-mother and single-father families has become important due to the increase in the number of parents contesting custody in divorce cases and as the number of single custodial fathers increases. The present study was designed to investigate a number of characteristics relating to children living in single-father families (SFFs) and in single-mother families (SMFs). Previous research has suggested that in the case of separation and/or divorce the mother is the more competent parent to raise the children. However, recent studies have provided some support for the idea that single fathers can be effective single parents. The subject sample included 42 single divorced custodial parents (21 single mothers and 21 single fathers) and their 62 (6- to 16-year-old) children. The measures employed were The Self-Perception Profile for Children (SPPC; Harter, 1985) and The Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL; Achenbach & Edelbrock, 1983). One-way MANCOVA and ANCOVA procedures were performed and it was found that the overall scores of children from single-father families (SFFs) did not differ significantly from children in single-mother families (SMFs) on the SPPC and the CBCL. The implications of these findings are discussed and suggestions for future research are provided.
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ABSTRACT: The authors used ecological theory to disentangle the effects of gender, family structure, and role responsibilities on parenting and children's behavior in single-parent and intact families. Data were gathered from parents and a focal child in 30 single-mother, 30 single-father, and 30 intact families. The Parent Perception Inventory (PPI) and Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) were used to evaluate how positive and negative behaviors of parents and internalizing and externalizing behaviors of the children differed across the three family structures. Significant differences were found between single-parent and intact families for both parenting and children's behavior. The researchers determined that role responsibilities and family structure are more important than gender in explaining parenting and child behavior following divorce.Journal of Divorce & Remarriage 12/1998; 29:23-54. DOI:10.1300/J087v29n03_02
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ABSTRACT: A model integrating prevailing perspectives on children's functioning following divorce was used to predict children's behavior problems. The data were collected from 30 custodial mothers, 30 custodial fathers, and 30 married parents with children 6 to 10 years of age, using face-to-face interviews and standardized questionnaires. Results using path analysis indicated that marital status and parental control had significant direct effects on children's behavior problems. Sex of parent, economic strain, co-parental conflict, coping with roles, and parenting indirectly influenced children's behavior through parental control. The findings suggest that the pressures inherent in raising a child alone, combined with too few resources for coping with role demands, are disruptive to both parenting and parental control, and that children in single-parent families appear to respond to these deficits with disruptive behaviors. Implications for family practice and policy are discussed.Journal of Divorce & Remarriage 08/2002; 37:13-36. DOI:10.1300/J087v37n01_02
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ABSTRACT: After years of neglect by researchers, therapists, and lawmakers, interest in fathering has come to the forefront. One group of fathers, those raising their children alone following separa- tion or divorce, has more than tripled in the period between 1970 and 1990 according to the Census Bureau. The literature on single custo- dial fathers, a population that was virtually unstudied until the 1970s, is based on both large and small samples. Comparison groups con- sisting of fathers without custody, fathers in joint custody arrange- ments, married fathers, widowers, and mothers with custody have been employed to further understand single father families. The research shows this lifestyle to be a viable one despite the role ambiguity associated with it. Particular areas of difficulties for these fathers are balancing work and child care, reestablishing a social life, and interacting with the court system. Fathers who choose the role tend to have an easier time than those who are forced into it. This article provides an overview of the topic and discusses the policy, practice, education, and research implications that the literature raises.Marriage & Family Review 10/1994; 20:213-231. DOI:10.1300/J002v20n01_10