A Comparison of Children Living in Single-Mother and Single-Father Families

Journal of divorce 03/1989; 12:169-184. DOI: 10.1300/J279v12n02_09

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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