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Among children with separated parents, shared residence – i.e., joint physical custody where the child is sharing his or her time equally between two custodial parents’ homes – is increasing in many Western countries and is particularly common in Sweden. The overall level of living among children in Sweden is high; however, the potential structural differences between children in various post-separation family arrangements have not been sufficiently studied. Potential risks for children with shared residence relate to the daily hassles and stress when having two homes. This study aims at investigating the living conditions of children with shared residence compared with children living with two custodial parents in the same household and those living with one custodial parent, respectively. Swedish national survey data collected from children aged 10–18 years (n ≈ 5000) and their parents were used. The outcomes were grouped into: Economic and material conditions, Social relations with parents and peers, Health and health behaviors, Working conditions and safety in school and in the neighborhood, and Culture and leisure time activities. Results from a series of linear probability models showed that most outcomes were similar for children with shared residence and those living with two custodial parents in the same household, while several outcomes were worse for children living with one parent. However, few differences due to living arrangements were found regarding school conditions. This study highlights the inequalities in the living conditions of Swedish children, with those living with one parent having fewer resources compared with other children.
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The Living Conditions of Children with Shared
Residence the Swedish Example
Emma Fransson
1
&Sara Brolin Låftman
1
&
Viveca Östberg
1
&Anders Hjern
1,2
&
Malin Bergström
1
Accepted: 5 January 2017 /Published online: 17 January 2017
#The Author(s) 2017. This article is published with open access at Springerlink.com
Abstract Among children with separated parents, shared residence i.e., joint phys-
ical custody where the child is sharing his or her time equally between two custodial
parentshomes is increasing in many Western countries and is particularly common
in Sweden. The overall level of living among children in Sweden is high; however, the
potential structural differences between children in various post-separation family
arrangements have not been sufficiently studied. Potential risks for children with shared
residence relate to the daily hassles and stress when having two homes. This study aims
at investigating the living conditions of children with shared residence compared with
children living with two custodial parents in the same household and those living with
one custodial parent, respectively. Swedish national survey data collected from children
aged 1018 years (n 5000) and their parents were used. The outcomes were grouped
into: Economic and material conditions, Social relations with parents and peers, Health
and health behaviors, Working conditions and safety in school and in the neighbor-
hood, and Culture and leisure time activities. Results from a series of linear probability
models showed that most outcomes were similar for children with shared residence and
those living with two custodial parents in the same household, while several outcomes
were worse for children living with one parent. However, few differences due to living
arrangements were found regarding school conditions. This study highlights the in-
equalities in the living conditions of Swedish children, with those living with one
parent having fewer resources compared with other children.
Child Ind Res (2018) 11:861883
DOI 10.1007/s12187-017-9443-1
*Emma Fransson
emma.fransson@ki.se
1
Centre for Health Equity Studies, CHESS, Stockholm University/Karolinska Institutet,
SE-10691 Stockholm, Sweden
2
Department of Medicine, Clinical Epidemiology Unit, Karolinska Institutet, SE-17177 Stockholm,
Sweden
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
Keywords Divorce .Shared parenting .Child health .Family policy .Joint physical
custody.We lfare
1 Introduction
Shared residence, i.e., joint physical custody where the child is sharing his or her time
equally between two custodial parentshomes, is increasing in many Western countries
and is common in parts of Northern Europe, particularly in Sweden. Traditionally, after
parental separation, children have continued to live with their mother. However, during
the past few decades, this picture has changed; thus, shared residence is almost as
common as the traditional sole mother care among children with separated parents in
Sweden (Statistics Sweden 2014; Swedish Government Official Report 2011, see also
Fig. 1). Parental separation has been associated with lower wellbeing in both parents
and children (Amato 2000; Berkman et al. 2015; Weitoft et al. 2004). However,
growing evidence has suggested that adolescents with shared residence fare better than
those in sole parent care (Bergström et al. 2015;Nielsen2014). Most of the studies in
the field have failed to identify the mechanisms involved for children in the different
living arrangements. Socioeconomic and other parental factors, however, seem to
account for part of the difference in child health outcomes (Bergström et al. 2014;
Bjarnason et al. 2012), suggesting that some variance could be attributed to economic
standards as well as to the wellbeing of the parents and the quality of the parent-child
relationships. Despite the growing number of studies regarding the health of children in
different living arrangements, knowledge concerning the extent to which childrens
living conditions differ between the living arrangements, in a broader sense, is lacking.
Using data from the yearly Swedish Living Conditions Survey (ULF) and its child
supplement (Child-ULF), this study aims at elucidating the potential differences in
living conditions among children and adolescents with different living arrangements.
1.1 Swedish Family Policies
Sweden has long had a tradition of family policies that acknowledge both mothers and
fathers as supposedly being engaged in paid work as well as in caring for children.
Since 1974, both mothers and fathers have had the possibility to use the paid parental
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
1984 1992 2001 2004 2006 2013
%
Fig. 1 Percentage of children in Sweden with separated parents, with shared residence. (Source: Swedish
Government official report 2011; Statistics Sweden 2014)
862 Fransson E. et al.
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leave policy. In 2012, the share of days used by fathers comprised 24% (Social
Insurance Report 2013). Swedish public policies are also translated into a relatively
high involvement in child care among Swedish fathers (Plantin et al. 2011). Accord-
ingly, Swedish parents often share the daily parental responsibility for children also
after a divorce or separation (The Swedish Government Offices 1999). Since 1998, the
Swedish court has also been able to decide on shared residence when one parent
opposes, if the court still finds the solution to be in the best interest of the child (The
Swedish Government Offices 1997). Shared residence, however, is a less common
post-separation arrangement among families with non-Swedish background
(Bergström et al. 2013) and among those in the lowest income category (Swedish
Government Official Report 2011).
1.2 The Welfare of Children in Sweden
From an international perspective, children in Sweden fare well. In the index of child
wellbeing in Europe, developed by Bradshaw and Richardson (2009), Sweden is rated as
the second highest (after the Netherlands) of the 29 included countries and also scores
highly in the specific domains such as child health, personal relationships, risk and
safety, and housing and environment. Despite the generally high standard of living, there
are nevertheless areas where problems are more common (e.g., subjective health com-
plaints, see (Inchley et al. 2016)). There are also areas involving systematic variation
between groups of children. More specifically, children living with a single parent and
children of immigrants tend to report poorer resources compared with their peers living
with two custodial parents and those of Swedish-born parents, respectively (Jonsson and
Östberg 2010). Moreover, these categories are over-represented among children who
live in absolute poverty, in terms of low income standard (Mood and Jonsson 2014). It
has been shown that it is not only children who livewith a single parent but also those in
other post-separation living arrangements that have less beneficial living conditions. For
instance,it has been found that children living with a singleparent and those living with a
parent and a step-parent are more likely to report psychosomatic health complaints than
their peers who live with two custodial parents (Låftman and Östberg 2006). They have
also been identified as being more likely to suffer from material and economic depriva-
tion and to have problems with participation and consumption on par with their peers
(Mood and Jonsson 2015). Thus, family structure constitutes a central inequality
dimension among children in Sweden, with a systematic gap between those living with
two custodial parents in the same household and those with other living arrangements.
Nevertheless, empirical research is still limited on the potential differences between
children in various post-separation family arrangements where children with shared
residence have been distinguished as a separate category.
1.3 Potential Drawbacks of Shared Residence
Concerns have been raised regarding the potential stress for children living in two
homes and in two family cultures (Gilmore 2006;McIntoshetal.2011). Other concerns
relate to the potential difficulties in maintaining social contacts when moving between
two neighborhoods (Prazen et al. 2011). In an interview study with adolescents, the
obvious drawbacks of shared residence have been described, for example, as logistics
The Living Conditions of Children with Shared Residence 863
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such as travelling between the homes and lacking ones personal items (Cashmore et al.
2010). Other worries that have been highlighted, for example, in social media include
the risk for children becoming spoiled when having two homes (Avitable 2010), while
child professionals have pointed at the risk for the child being more exposed to parental
conflict and of feeling torn between parents (Buchanan et al. 1991; Gilmore 2006). For
young children, the debate has mostly regarded the potential risk of being separated
from the mother (McIntosh et al. 2011), while others have emphasized the importance
of the continued involvement of both parents on an everyday basis (Nielsen 2013;
Warsha k 2014). Furthermore, parental monitoring of children could be expected to be
lower in post-separation living arrangements. Children with shared residence might be
less monitored if the parents fail to communicate. Low parental monitoring has been
associated with an increased risk of mental ill-health in youth (Fröjd et al. 2007).
Despite the increasing proportions of children having shared residence in Sweden,
knowledge about the living conditions of this group still remains limited. To date,
empirical studies of children with shared residence have largely focused on health-
related outcomes and parental relations, but a picture of their level of living in a broader
sense is lacking, particularly a picture that is grounded in data including not only
childrens own reports about their living conditions but also reliable measures of
household characteristics such as parental education.
1.4 Aim and Research Questions
The overall aim of this study was to provide a thorough description of the living
conditions of children with shared residence and to compare the living conditions of
this group to those living with two custodial parents in the same household and to those
living with one custodial parent. To do this, we used Swedish national survey data
including information collected from both children and their parents. This study
investigates the potential differences due to childrens living arrangements with regard
to economic and material conditions, social relationships, health and health behaviors,
conditions in school and neighborhood, as well as culture and leisure time activities. In
order to (at least partially) control for the selection into different living arrangements,
the analyses are adjusted for factors previously known to differ between parents with
shared residence and with sole parental care, namely, the level of education (Statistics
Sweden 2014) and non-Swedish background (Bergström et al. 2013).
2DataandMethod
2.1 Data Material
The data were derived from the Swedish Living Conditions Survey (ULF) and the
Living Conditions Survey of Children (Child-ULF) (see http://www.scb.se/LE0101-
en/). The design of the data makes it possible to link the information collected from the
parents to the information collected from the children. We used pooled data from the
survey years 20072011. Both ULF and Child-ULF are conducted by telephone and
carried out by Statistics Sweden. ULF is based on a nationally representative sample of
individuals living in Sweden aged 16 years and older. The interview covers a wide
864 Fransson E. et al.
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range of living conditions, including education, occupation and employment, family
relations, and health. For the survey years 20072011, the total non-response rate was
2741% annually, with an overrepresentation of persons born outside of Sweden, single
parents (compared with parents living with a partner), individuals with a low level of
education, those having a lower income, and recipients of social assistance (Statistics
Sweden 2016). All children between 10 and 18 years who live in the adult respondents
household at least half the time comprise the sample frame of Child-ULF. Similar to the
interview with the adult respondents, the child supplement includes questions covering
a broad range of living conditions such as childrens own financial resources, relations
with parents and peers, health and health-related behaviors, and education and working
conditions in school. The rate of non-responding children, calculated among those
whose parents agreed to take part in the survey, was between 26 and 37% during the
years 20072011. Although there is not yet any available detailed analysis of the non-
response of Child-ULF, it is likely that there was systematic bias also among the
responding children in the sample frame. In a similar survey, Child-LNU 2000, the
non-response was higher among, e.g., 18-year-olds, those not living with two custodial
parents, and those with foreign-born parents (Jonsson et al. 2001). In the present paper,
the analytic sample included about 5000 children 1018 years of age, with some
variation for different outcomes.
2.2 Variables
2.2.1 Independent Variable
The living arrangement categories were based on data from the adult survey about the
childs residency. Children living less than half the time with the adult participant were
not included in the sample frame of Child-ULF. For the children included, the parent
answered the following questions regarding child residency: BDoes the child live with
you all of the time or part of the time^with the response alternatives Ball or nearly all of
the time^or Bpart of the time.^If the parent answered Bpart of the time,^new response
alternatives were Bhalf of the time shared residence,^or Bmore than half of the time.^
The parent also provided information on whether or not the childs other parent lived in
the same household. For purposes of this study, the categories used in the analyses are:
Household with two custodial parents;Shared residence, i.e., children who live with
two custodial parents approximately half the time in each parents home; and House-
hold with one custodial parent. For the two latter categories, the homes could also
include a step-parent. Children living more than half of the time but not full time with
one custodial parent (n= 104) were excluded to make a clear cut between the groups.
Moreover, children in foster care (n= 12) and children with missing data on any of the
background variables (n= 39) were excluded.
2.2.2 Control Variables
Childsgenderand age were used as control variables. Age was divided into three
groups: 1012, 1315, 1618 years of age.
Parental education was constructed from the information on the responding parents
level of education, obtained from the adult ULF survey and classified into three
The Living Conditions of Children with Shared Residence 865
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categories. A low level of education was equivalent to any level less than three years of
senior high school. A medium level of education was equivalent to three years of high
school but less than three years of graduate school. A high level of education was
equivalent to at least three years of university studies.
Parental country of birth was based on information from the Register of the Total
Population and coded as BSweden^or BOther,^with the latter group being comprised
of children with two parents born outside Sweden. For children of separated parents,
the categorization was based on the available parents birth country. For a few cases
(n= 6) where the information from the custodial parent was lacking, the step-parents
origin was used instead.
2.2.3 Dependent Variables
The dependent variables are briefly presented below. For details about the construction
of these variables, see Appendix 1.
Four variables regarding economic and material conditions were used: Having an
own room, Cash margin,Cannot buy same things as friends, and Cannot afford to join
friends.
Five variables were used to measure social relations with parents: Gets on well with
mother, Gets on well with father, Mother has time for me, Father has time for me, and
My parents know most of my friendsparents. Five variables were used to measure
social relations with peers: Have at least one close friend in class,Bring friends home
weekly,Visit friends in their home weekly,Bullied at school, and Bullied on the Internet.
Four variables were used to measure health: Self-rated health (less than good),
Psychological complaints,Psychosomatic complaints, and Stress. Four variables were
used to measure health behaviors: Smoking weekly,Alcohol use at least every other
week,Exercise weekly, and Skipping breakfast weekly.
Five variables were used to measure working conditions and safety in school: Too
high pace at school,Lack of order in classroom,Teachers help in school when needed,
Idobetteratschoolthanmostothers,andFeeling unsafe during breaks at school.Two
variables were used to measure safety in the neighborhood: Been threatened, hit, or
chased in my neighborhood and Feeling unsafe in the neighborhood.
Four variables were used for weekly leisure time activities: Read books weekly,
Organized sports activity weekly,Organized non-sport activity weekly,andDo house-
work 3 h weekly.Three variables were used for cultural experiences during the past
six months: Theater,Cinema, and Museum.
2.3 Ethics
Ethical permission for the study has been provided by the Regional Ethical Review
Board of Stockholm (dnr 2012/118431/5).
2.4 Statistical Methods
Since the children were sampled through the adult respondents, the sampling proba-
bilities differed between children. For instance, children living with two parents were
more likely to be sampled than children living with one parent, and children with
866 Fransson E. et al.
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shared residence whose parents had re-partnered could be sampled through up to four
adults (i.e., custodial parents and step-parents). Thus, a sampling weight based on the
number of adults the child lived with was used in the descriptive analyses. Since it has
been pointed out that it is problematic to compare odds ratios from logistic regressions
between models with different independent variables, we conducted linear probability
models (LPM), i.e., linear regression analyses of dichotomous outcomes, where the
coefficients can be interpreted in terms of percentage units (Mood 2010). All analyses
were computed using Stata 13. To adjust for the fact that the observations were not
independent, with some children (i.e., siblings and step-siblings) living in the same
households, we used Statas robust cluster command to obtain robust standard errors.
The regressions were modeled in two steps: the first model (BCrude^) was adjusted for
the childs gender and age group as well as survey year, and the second model
(BAdjusted^) was additionally adjusted for parental education and country of birth.
3Results
Descriptive characteristics of the data, by living arrangement groups, are provided in
Table 1. The proportions of boys and girls were quite evenly distributed across the
living arrangement groups, while age was not. Older teens, 1618 years, were more
often living with one parent, and 1315-year-olds were the most common age group
with shared residence. High education was more common among parents in households
with two custodial parents and with shared residence, while low education was
common in households with just one custodial parent. In the category shared
Table 1 Descriptive characteristics of the data, by living arrangement. Unweighted percent (n within
brackets). N= 5125
Household with two
custodial parents
Shared residence Household with one
custodial parent
All
Gender
Boys 49.2 (1857) 50.7 (252) 47.3 (404) 49.0 (2513)
Girls 50.8 (1917) 49.3 (245) 52.7 (450) 51.0 (2612)
Age group
1012 33.3 (1256) 32.6 (162) 23.0 (196) 31.5 (1614)
1315 34.6 (1306) 37.2 (185) 32.7 (279) 34.5 (1770)
1618 32.1 (1212) 30.2 (150) 44.4 (379) 34.0 (1741)
Parental education
Low 39.1 (1474) 38.0 (189) 46.7 (399) 40.2 (2062)
Medium 34.4 (1299) 36.4 (181) 34.9 (298) 34.7 (1778)
High 26.5 (1001) 25.6 (127) 18.4 (157) 25.1 (1285)
Parental country of birth
Sweden 90.2 (3403) 94.6 (470) 83.6 (714) 89.5 (4587)
Other 9.8 (371) 5.4 (27) 16.4 (140) 10.5 (538)
All 73.6 (3774) 9.7 (497) 16.7 (854) 100.0 (5125)
The Living Conditions of Children with Shared Residence 867
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residence,most parents had Swedish background (94.6%), and in households with one
custodial parent, the reported proportion was 83.6%.
3.1 Economic and Material Conditions
Differences in material conditions and economy with regard to family living arrange-
ments are presented in Table 2. The only difference found between children living with
two parents in the same household and those with shared residence is that the latter
group more often reported not being able to afford to join friends for activities. For
children living with one parent, in contrast, all the studied economic and material
conditions were shown to be worse, compared with children living with two parents.
Children in households with one parent also reported less resources, compared with
children with shared residence with respect to having a higher probability of not having
an own room, not being able to provide cash when needed, as well as not being able to
afford to buy the same things as peers, and not being able to afford to join friends.
However, when controlling for parental education and country of birth, there was no
longer a difference in the probability of not having an own room.
Tab le 2 Economic and materialconditions. Weighted percent and coefficients from linear probability models
(LPM). n=50755124
Householdwithtwo
custodial parents (ref.)
Shared residence Household with one
custodial parent
Sig. diff. Shared residence
vs. One custodial parent
Own room
a
% 95.0 93.3 89.1
Crude
b
0.00 -0.01 -0.05*** **
Adjusted
c
0.00 -0.02 -0.04** n.s.
Cash margin
% 90.8 88.1 86.2
Crude
b
0.00 -0.02 -0.07*** *
Adjusted
c
0.00 -0.02 -0.06*** *
Cannot buy same things as friends
% 16.7 19.6 27.1
Crude
b
0.00 0.03 0.10*** **
Adjusted
c
0.00 0.03 0.10*** **
Cannot afford to join friends
% 10.1 14.0 21.4
Crude
b
0.00 0.04* 0.10*** **
Adjusted
c
0.00 0.04* 0.10*** *
a
During 20072008, all respondents were posed the question whether or not they had their own room. During
20092011, children with joint physical custody were asked to specify whether they had their own room in
their mother and fathers home, respectively. Children who responded that they had their own room in either
one or both parentshomes were coded as having their own room
b
Adjusted for gender, age group, and survey year
c
Adjusted for gender, age group, parental education, parental country of birth, and survey year
***p<0.001**p<0.01*p<0.05
868 Fransson E. et al.
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3.2 Social Relations
Table 3presents the differences in relations with parents and peers by family living
arrangements. Compared with children living with two parents in the same household,
children with shared residence reported more often that their father had time for them.
On the other hand, children with shared residence reported less often that parents knew
most of their friendsparents, compared with children living in one household with two
parents. Regarding peer relations, there were practically no differences between chil-
dren with shared residence and those with two parents in one household. When
comparing children living with two parents with those living with one parent, all the
studied measures of social relations differed between the two categories, except for visit
friends in their home weekly, which was not significant. The clearest differences found
between children with shared residence and those living with one parent regarded
relations with parents. Children living with one parent were more likely to report not
getting on well with their parents, and less likely to claim that the parents had time for
them and that they knew the parents of their friends. Most aspects of peer relations were
found to be worse for children living with one parent compared to those with shared
residence, including having a close friend in class, visit friends in their home weekly,
and being exposed to bullying at school as well as on the Internet; however, several of
these associations turned non-significant in the adjusted analyses.
3.3 Health and Health Related Behaviors
With regard to health and health related behaviors (see Table 4), there were practically
no statistically significant differences between children with two parents in one house-
hold and those with shared residence, the exception being that those with shared
residence were more likely to skip breakfast. In contrast, all the studied outcomes
differed between children living with two parents and those living with one parent.
Some differences were also found between children with shared residence and those
living with one parent. Children in the latter group were more likely to report less than
good self-rated health and more psychosomatic complaints, being stressed as well as to
smoke and to skip breakfast, also in the adjusted analyses. Children living with one
parent were less likely to exercise on a weekly basis than those with shared residence
and more likely to report being stressed. This latter association, however, became non-
significant in the adjusted model. However, no significant differences were found
between these two categories for psychological complaints or alcohol use.
3.4 Working Conditions and Safety in School and in the Neighborhood
The conditions in school as well as in the neighborhood due to living arrangement are
displayed in Table 5. Overall, no statistically significant differences were found between
children living with two parents in one household and those with shared residence. Inthe
comparison between children with two custodial parents and those with one, it is seen
that those living with one parent assessed their school performance as being lower in
relation to their peers. In addition, children living with one parent reported feeling unsafe
during breaks at school, having been threatened, hit or chased, and feeling unsafe in the
neighborhood, more often. Children living with one parent reported feeling unsafe
The Living Conditions of Children with Shared Residence 869
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Tab le 3 Social relations with parents and peers. Weighted percent and coefficients from linear probability
models (LPM). n=49705125
Householdwithtwo
custodial parents (ref.)
Shared residence Household with one
custodial parent
Sig. diff. Shared residence
vs. One custodial parent
Gets on well with mother
% 94.1 94.0 88.8
Crude
a
0.00 0.00 -0.05*** **
Adjusted
b
0.00 0.00 -0.05*** **
Gets on well with father
% 93.5 90.6 79.3
Crude
a
0.00 -0.03 -0.14*** ***
Adjusted
b
0.00 -0.03 -0.14*** ***
Mother has time for me
% 94.9 95.6 90.9
Crude
a
0.00 0.01 -0.05*** ***
Adjusted
b
0.00 0.01 -0.05*** ***
Father has time for me
% 87.2 92.5 76.0
Crude
a
0.00 0.05*** -0.11*** ***
Adjusted
b
0.00 0.05*** -0.11*** ***
My parents know most of my friendsparents
% 61.5 53.5 41.6
Crude
a
0.00 -0.08** -0.16*** **
Adjusted
b
0.00 -0.09*** -0.16*** *
Has at least one close friend in class
% 94.6 94.7 90.1
Crude
a
0.00 0.00 -0.03** *
Adjusted
b
0.00 0.00 -0.03** *
Brought friends home weekly
% 78.9 76.8 71.0
Crude
a
0.00 -0.02 -0.06** n.s.
Adjusted
b
0.00 -0.02 -0.06** n.s.
Visited friends in their home weekly
% 83.4 85.9 80.9
Crude
a
0.00 0.03 -0.02 *
Adjusted
b
0.00 0.02 -0.01 n.s.
Bullied at school
% 7.5 9.6 12.0
Crude
a
0.00 0.02 0.06*** *
Adjusted
b
0.00 0.02 0.05*** n.s.
Bullied on the Internet, at least once
c
% 6.6 6.5 11.0
Crude
a
0.00 -0.01 0.04* *
Adjusted
b
0.00 -0.01 0.04* *
a
Adjusted for gender, age group, and survey year
b
Adjusted for gender, age group, parental education, parental country of birth, and survey year
c
Question posed only during 20092011 (n=2496)
***p<0.001**p<0.01*p<0.05
870 Fransson E. et al.
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Tab le 4 Health and health behaviors. Weighted percent and coefficients from linear probability models
(LPM). n=51115118
Householdwithtwo
custodial parents (ref.)
Shared residence Household with one
custodial parent
Sig. diff. Shared residence
vs. One custodial parent
Self-rated health (less than good)
a
% 12.4 13.3 26.9
Crude
b
0.00 0.01 0.13*** ***
Adjusted
c
0.00 0.01 0.13*** ***
Psychological complaints
% 9.1 12.2 15.4
Crude
b
0.00 0.02 0.06*** n.s.
Adjusted
c
0.00 0.03 0.05*** n.s.
Psychosomatic complaints
% 17.4 19.6 26.8
Crude
b
0.00 0.02 0.08*** *
Adjusted
c
0.00 0.02 0.08*** *
Stressed (more than weekly)
% 16.4 16.2 24.7
Crude
b
0.00 0.00 0.05** *
Adjusted
c
0.00 0.01 0.05** *
Smoking weekly
d
%5.3 6.7 17.7
Crude
b
0.00 0.01 0.11*** ***
Adjusted
c
0.00 0.01 0.10*** ***
Alcohol use at least every other week
e
% 9.5 10.9 15.0
Crude
b
0.00 0.02 0.04** n.s.
Adjusted
c
0.00 0.01 0.05** n.s.
Exercise weekly
% 65.8 66.3 58.8
Crude
b
0.00 0.00 -0.06** *
Adjusted
c
0.00 0.00 -0.05** n.s.
Skipping breakfast weekly
% 12.9 16.0 26.7
Crude
b
0.00 0.03 0.11*** **
Adjusted
c
0.00 0.04* 0.10*** **
a
Question posed only during 20092011 (n=2841)
b
Adjusted for gender, age group, and survey year
c
Adjusted for gender, age group, parental education, parental country of birth, and survey year
d
Question posed to 1018-year-olds during 20072008, but only to 1318-year-olds during 20092011
(n=4223)
e
Question posed only to 1318-year-olds (n=3373)
***p<0.001**p<0.01*p<0.05
The Living Conditions of Children with Shared Residence 871
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during breaks at school as well as of having experienced being threatened, hit or chased
in the neighborhood the past 6 months, more often than those with shared residence.
3.5 Culture and Leisure Time Activities
With regard to culture and leisure time activities, the only significant difference
between children living with two parents in one household and those with shared
Tab le 5 Working conditions and safety in school and in the neighborhood. Weighted percent and coefficients
from linear probability models (LPM). n= 50555118
Householdwithtwo
custodial parents (ref.)
Shared residence Household with one
custodial parent
Sig. diff. Shared residence
vs. One custodial parent
Too high pace at school
a
% 12.0 10.2 16.2
Crude
b
0.00 -0.01 0.03 n.s.
Adjusted
c
0.00 -0.01 0.02 n.s.
Lack of order in classroom
% 43.2 47.0 46.6
Crude
b
0.00 0.03 0.03 n.s.
Adjusted
c
0.00 0.03 0.03 n.s.
Teachers help in school when needed
% 93.8 92.3 92.8
Crude
b
0.00 -0.01 0.00 n.s.
Adjusted
c
0.00 -0.02 0.00 n.s.
I do better at school than most others
% 49.2 46.8 40.1
Crude
b
0.00 -0.03 -0.09*** n.s.
Adjusted
c
0.00 -0.03 -0.08*** n.s.
Feel unsafe during breaks at school
% 2.3 2.1 4.3
Crude
b
0.00 0.00 0.02** **
Adjusted
c
0.00 0.00 0.02** *
Been threatened, hit or chased in my neighborhood
% 6.3 5.9 11.4
Crude
b
0.00 0.00 0.06*** ***
Adjusted
c
0.00 0.00 0.05*** **
Feel unsafe in my neighborhood
% 15.4 17.1 21.1
Crude
b
0.00 0.02 0.07*** n.s.
Adjusted
c
0.00 0.03 0.06*** n.s.
a
Question posed only during 20072008 (n=2264)
b
Adjusted for gender, age group, and survey year
c
Adjusted for gender, age group, parental education, parental country of birth, and survey year
***p<0.001**p<0.01*p<0.05
872 Fransson E. et al.
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
residence was found for housework, with children with shared residence being less
likely to participate in housework at least 3 h per week, as presented in Table 6.Some
differences were found between children living with two parents and those living with
one parent. Children in the latter group were less likely to read books or participate in
organized sport activities on a weekly basis, and to have visited the theater during the
last six months. Children living with one parent compared to those in households with
two custodial parents reported less often that they participated in organized non-sport
activities on a weekly basis, although this association was attenuated and non-
Tab le 6 Culture and leisure time activities. Weighted percent and coefficients from linear probability models
(LPM). n=50255123
Householdwithtwo
custodial parents (ref.)
Shared residence Household with one
custodial parent
Sig. diff. Shared residence
vs. One custodial parent
Read books weekly
% 57.8 55.5 48.8
Crude
a
0.00 -0.02 -0.07** n.s.
Adjusted
b
0.00 -0.01 -0.06** n.s.
Organized sports activity weekly
% 68.9 65.4 51.2
Crude
a
0.00 -0.03 -0.15*** ***
Adjusted
b
0.00 -0.03 -0.14*** ***
Organized non-sport activity weekly
% 23.0 20.4 17.1
Crude
a
0.00 -0.03 -0.04** n.s.
Adjusted
b
0.00 -0.03 -0.03 n.s.
Do housework 3 h weekly
% 30.2 23.8 31.8
Crude
a
0.00 -0.06** 0.00 *
Adjusted
b
0.00 -0.05* -0.01 n.s.
Theater (last six months)
% 27.2 27.2 23.7
Crude
a
0.00 0.01 -0.04* *
Adjusted
b
0.00 0.01 -0.04* *
Cinema (last six months)
% 78.7 81.5 78.6
Crude
a
0.00 0.03 -0.02 *
Adjusted
b
0.00 0.03 -0.01 n.s.
Museum (last six months)
% 35.3 39.1 32.7
Crude
a
0.00 0.05 -0.03 **
Adjusted
b
0.00 0.04 -0.02 *
a
Adjusted for gender, age group, and survey year
b
Adjusted for gender, age group, parental education, parental country of birth, and survey year
***p<0.001**p<0.01*p<0.05
The Living Conditions of Children with Shared Residence 873
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
significant in the adjusted model. With regard to the differences between children with
shared residence and those living with one parent, the former category was more likely
to participate in sports activities and to have visited the theater and a museum during
the last six months. In addition, children with shared residence were less likely than
those living with one parent to have participated in housework at least 3 h per week, but
this difference became non-significant in the adjusted model. Children living with one
parent compared to those with shared residence reported less often going to the cinema
during the last six months, but this difference also became non-significant in the
adjusted model.
4 Discussion
This study of the living conditions among Swedish children in different family forms
highlights the inequalities in social and material resources between the groups, despite
controlling (at least partly) for possible selection bias. The results provide a general
picture that many Swedish children have good access to material as well as social
resources but, importantly, the resources are not evenly distributed. Interestingly, the
living conditions for children in shared residence resembles that of children living with
two custodial parents in one household, to a great extent, while the situation for
children living with one custodial parent is worse for most of the studied outcomes
compared with children who live with two parents in the same household. As an
attempt to adjust for selection effects, the analyses were adjusted for parental education
and parental country of birth, known to differ between the living arrangement groups
(Juby et al. 2005;KitterodandLyngstad2014). Yet, overall, the estimates for the
identified differences were not affected much when adjusted for these characteristics.
However, it is possible that there are other selection mechanisms for the different living
arrangements for children that we have not been able to study here, for example, how
well the parents get along and cooperate.
4.1 Children with Separated Parents
This study focuses on children of separated parents, with shared residence or living
with one custodial parent. Many previous studies have explored the differences be-
tween those children living with two custodial parents in one household compared with
children who experienced family break-up, linking the experience of parental separa-
tion and the connected loss of resources and potential exposure to conflict and poorer
outcomes in children with separated parents (Amato and Sobolewski 2001;Andress
et al. 2006; Ängarne-Lindberg and Wadsby 2009). In the present study, however,
children with separated parents were grouped after living arrangement. This grouping
further elucidates the differences in childrens living conditions after parental dissolu-
tion between those with shared residence and those living with one custodial parent.
When comparing these two categories with children living with two custodial parents
in one household, only a small number of the indicators selected for this study differed
between children with two custodial parents in the same household and those with
shared residence, while a substantial majority was found to be worse for children living
with one custodial parent. In this cross sectional study, no causal relationship could be
874 Fransson E. et al.
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
determined, and despite the adjusted analyses there is a possibility that the findings
reflect selection effects, i.e., there are unobserved differences between parents who end
up having different arrangements after separation. Yet, whatever the reasons might be,
the children living with one of the custodial parents are subjected to more ill-health as
well as to having fewer resources, social as well as material and cultural. This is in
accordance with the literature on children of single parents, e.g., (Jonsson and Östberg
2010; Mood and Jonsson 2015). In the present study, however, parents who re-married
or re-partnered were also included in the group for living with one custodial parent.
4.2 Shared Residence versus Living with One Custodial Parent
Between the two post-separation family groups, about half of the studied variables were
shown to differ, spread across the study areas, indicating that children with shared
residence tended to have more resources than those living with one custodial parent.
This is in line with some previous studies looking at health differences between
children with shared residence and in sole parental care in Sweden (Bergström et al.
2015,2013; Fransson et al. 2015; Låftman et al. 2014) and in other parts of Europe
(Vanassche et al. 2013; Westphal and Monden 2015). The results from the present study
add to the existing literature by including a wider range of living conditions for
children. The results indicate that the differences relate to health-related outcomes as
well as economic and material conditions, relations with parents, experiences of safety,
and access to cultural and leisure time activities. In contrast, differences in social
relations with peers between children with shared residence and those living with one
custodial parent were small and not significant after adjustment for parental education
and country of birth. Few differences were also found in working conditions in school
between children in the two post-separation living arrangements. Moreover, despite
being worse off in the comparison, it should be emphasized that most of the children
living with one custodial parent (around 80% or more) still reported getting along well
with both mother and father.
4.3 Children in Shared Residence What about the Suggested Drawbacks?
In Sweden and elsewhere, the welfare of children with shared residence has been
debated. Yet, the present study indicates that shared residence results in many benefits
to households with two custodial parents, with both social and material resources being
similar among children in these two types of living arrangements. Some exceptions
were found, for instance, children with shared residence were more likely to report that
they could not afford to join friends for activities, but they were also more likely to
claim that their fathers had time for them. In an interview study with Swedish children
with shared residence, some children experienced getting increased attention from each
parent when seeing one parent at a time (Berman 2015). Exposure to parental conflict
was not measured in Child-ULF, nor potential feelings of being emotionally torn
between parents. Children with shared residence, however, reported more often getting
along well with both parents than children living with one custodial parent. Moreover,
we did not find any support for the suggested difficulties to maintain social contacts
when moving between different neighborhoods (Prazen et al. 2011), as children with
shared residence reported bringing friends home as well as visiting friendshouses, in
The Living Conditions of Children with Shared Residence 875
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
line with the other groups. This result may reflect the fact that Swedish parents tend to
live rather close also after separation (Statistics Sweden 2015). Nonetheless, since
children with shared residence were less likely to report that their parents knew most
of their friendsparents compared with their peers living with two custodial parents in
the same household, this suggests a risk that these children might be less monitored or
less supported. Children living only with one custodial parent however were also less
likely to have parents who knew most of the friendsparents. The present study also
finds a difference in the reporting of the amount of housework, as children with shared
residence were less likely to help out than children living with two custodial parents in
the same household. The concerns regarding potential stress for children living in two
homes (Gilmore 2006;McIntoshetal.2011) was not apparent in the present study, but
children living with one custodial parent were more likely to be stressed than those
living with two custodial parents.
In sum, the results from this study show that children having two homes were well
off in many of the areas studied. Importantly, though, children who did not live with
two custodial parents were shown to be subjected to multiple disadvantages compared
to the other groups. Thus, we might conclude that children whose parents chose shared
residence for them are doing well overall. Noteworthy, however, since we have not
been able to fully control for selection, one cannot draw the overall conclusion that
children who live with one custodial parent would be better off with shared residence.
4.4 Strengths and Limitations
The main contribution of the present study is that it adds to the knowledge base by
reporting on everyday life conditions of children in different family forms, comparing
children with shared residence with those living with two custodial parents in one
household and those living with only one custodial parent. The data material is large
and based on a nationally representative sample of adults in Sweden, including also the
children who live in the adult respondentshouseholds. An advantage is that it
combines information from children and parents. While children themselves should
be the main informants of their own conditions, socioeconomic characteristics, to be as
reliable as possible, are preferably measured through information derived from parents
or from official registers (Jonsson and Östberg 2010). Indeed, parental education, in
particular, has limited reliability when reported by adolescents (Looker 1989). Never-
theless, the data material also has some limitations. The non-response rate was rela-
tively high among both adults and children. Furthermore, for children with separated
parents, there was no information on the time point of the parental separation or on the
length of the current living arrangement. Previous studies have shown that the time
period surrounding the parental separation is, not surprisingly, the most difficult time
for children (Hetherington and Stanley-Hagan 1999). Furthermore, the timing of the
separation with regard to the age of the child could be of importance (Lansford et al.
2006), something that we lack information on. Other important aspects that were not
measured include inter-parental conflict. Finally, the fact that the data are cross-
sectional prevents us from making causal interpretations with support in the data and
to follow children over time.
It should also be noted that not least because of the wide range of outcomes studied,
it was beyond the scope of this paper to evaluate the possible mechanisms in the
876 Fransson E. et al.
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
associations between childrens living arrangements and their living conditions. Hence,
disentangling potential mechanisms and pathways between childrens living arrange-
ments and various types of outcomes is a fruitful avenue for future research. Aspects
relevant for future study may include socioeconomic factors such as household income,
household social class, and working conditions of the parents, as well as psychosocial
conditions such as parental wellbeing, stress, and conflict level between parents.
5 Conclusion
The present study showed that children with shared residence largely tend to have living
conditions on par with children who live with two custodial parents in the same household.
In contrast, children living with only one custodial parent have poorer living conditions
than their peers in households with two custodial parents and those with shared residence.
This was particularly true for economic and material conditions, relations with parents, and
health related outcomes, while fewer differences were found regarding school conditions
(at least those studied here). The patterns remained robust and were onlyminimally affected
when adjusting for parental education and country of birth. Future studies should address
the potential mechanisms behind the poorer wellbeing among children living with one
custodial parent compared with those in other living arrangements. With regard to inquiry
on the living conditions of children with shared residence, a promising avenue for future
research would be to apply a longitudinal approach in order to prospectively assess the role
of timing of the parental separation and the relevance of selection effects, as well as to study
the long-term consequences of growing up in different family forms.
Acknowledgements Financial support from Länsförsäkringsbolagens forskningsfond and from the Swedish
Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (Forte) is gratefully acknowledged.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Appendix 1. Dependent Variables, Detailed Description
Economic and Material Conditions
Having an own room was constructed from the question BDo you have any of the
following?^and the item BAroomofyourown^The response categories were BYes^
and BNo.^For children with shared residence, the response categories differed across
the survey years. During 20072008, all respondents were asked whether or not they
had their own room. During 20092011, children with shared residence were asked to
specify whether they had their own room in their mother and fathers home, respec-
tively. Of these, 19% answered that they had their own room in one home, and 79% in
both homes. For the analyses, children who responded that they had their own room in
either one or both parentshomes were coded as having their own room.
The Living Conditions of Children with Shared Residence 877
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Cash margin was constructed from the question BIf you suddenly needed 100 SEK
[about 10 euro] for tomorrow, e.g., to go to the movies, would you be able to get it? If
you can get or if you have 100 SEK, you answer yes.^Those who replied BYes^were
coded as having cash margin, as opposed to those who replied BNo^or BDontknow.^
Cannot buy same things as friends was based on the question BHas there been an
incidence where you were not able to buy something that you wanted, which many
others of your age had, because you could not afford it? Think about the last six
months.^Children who replied BYes, several times^were classified as not being able to
buy the same things as friends, as opposed to those who answered BYes, once^or
BNever.^
Cannot afford to join friends was based on the question BHas there been an
incidence where you were not able to join your friends, because you could not afford
it? Think about the last six months.^Those who replied BYes, several times^were
classified as not being able to buy the same things as friends, as opposed to those who
answered BYes, once^or BNever.^
Social Relations with Parents and Peers
Gets on well with mother/father were based on the questions BHow do you and your
mother get on?^and BHow do you and your father get on?^Those who replied that
they got on Bvery well^or Brather well^were categorized as getting on well with their
mother/father as opposed to those who replied Bokay,^Brather poorly,^or Bvery
poorly.^
Mother/father has time for me were constructed from the questions BDoes your
mother usually have time for you if you want to talk about or do something?^and
BDoes your father usually have time for you if you want to talk about or do
something?^It was considered as yes when the child stated BYes, always^or BYes,
often^as opposed to BNo, not so oftenBor BNo, never.^
My parents know most of my friendsparents was constructed from the question BDo
your parents know the parents of your friends?^It was considered as yes when the
child stated BYes, all or m o st,^as opposed to BYes, some^or BNo, none^(of the
friendsparents).
Has at least one close friend in class was derived from the question BDo you have
any close friends in your school class?^with the response categories BYes, one,^BYes,
two,^BYes, three or more,^and BNo.^The first three categories were merged to
measure that the respondent had at least one close friend in class.
Brings friends home weekly was constructed from the question BHow many days
during an ordinary week, thus from Monday to Sunday, do you engage in one of the
following in your spare time?^and the statement BHave friends at my house.^Response
categories were BEvery day,^BSeveral days a week,^BOne day a week,^BLess often,^
and BNever.^The first three categories were dichotomized against the last two.
Visits friends in their home weekly was measured from the same question as above
and the item BGo to a friendshouse.^
Bullied at school was based on four types of common bullying situations. The
question was formulated accordingly: BHow often do you experience the following things
at school?^The items used were: BOther students accuse you of things you have not done
or things you cannot help with,^BNo one wants to be with you,^BOther students show
878 Fransson E. et al.
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they do not like you somehow, for example, by teasing you or whispering or joking about
you,^and BOne or more students hit you or hurt you in some way.^Response categories
for each item were: BAlmost every day,^BAt least once a week,^BAt least once a month,^
BOnce in a while,^and BNever.^Those who had experienced at least one type of bullying
on a weekly basis or more often were classified as bullied at school.
Bullied on the Internet was constructed from the question BWhen you have been on
the Internet, has there been an incidence where someone has written something to you
or spread rumors about you which made you sad, angry or worried? Think about the
last six months.^The response categories were BYes, several times,^BYes, once,^and
BNo.^The former two were dichotomized against the last. This question was posed
only during 20092011.
Health and Health Behaviors
Self-rated health (less than good) was created from the question BDo you think your
health is^with response categories BVery good,^BGood,^BQuite good,^and BBad.^
Those who had responded to any of the latter two categories were classified as
reporting less than good self-rated health.
Psychological complaints were assessed through three statements: BI often feel sad
or down,^BIm often tense and nervous,^and BIm often grouchy and irritated.^The
response alternatives were BMatches exactly,^BMatches roughly,^BMatches poorly,^
and BDoes not match at all.^Those who replied BMatches exactly^or BMatches
roughly^to at least two of the three statements were categorized as reporting psycho-
logical complaints.
Psychosomatic complaints were constructed from the question BDuring the past six
months, how often have you had the following problems?^The items used were
BHeadache,^BStomach-ache,^and BDifficulty falling asleep.^The response categories
were BEveryday,^BSeveral times a week,^BOnce a week,^BSome time during the
month,^and BLess often or never.^Those who had reported at least two complaints at
least weekly were classified as having somatic complaints.
Stressed weekly was measured from the question BDuring the past six months, how
often have you had the following problems?^and the item BFelt stressed.^Children
reporting stress more than once per week were categorized as suffering from stress.
Smoking weekly was measured from the question BDuring the last six months, how
often did any of the following things happen?^and the item BYou sm o ked . ^The
response categories were BEvery day,^BSeveral times a week,^BOnce a week,^BSome
time during the month,^and BLess often or never.^Those who replied that it had
happened weekly or more often were classified as smoking weekly. During 20072008,
this question was posed to all respondents, but in 20092011 it was posed only to
respondents aged 1318 years.
Alcohol use at least every other week was constructed from the question BHow often
have you had alcohol during the last six months?^with the response categories BEvery
week,^BEvery other week,^BEvery month,^BMore seldom,^and BNever.^Those
who replied every week or every other week were categorized as using alcohol at least
every other week. The question was posed only to respondents aged 1318 years.
Skipping breakfast weekly was derived from the question BDuring the last six
months, how often did any of the following things happen?^and the item BYou ski pped
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breakfast.^The response categories were BEvery day,^BSeveral times a week,^BOnce
aweek,^BSome time during the month,^and BLess often or never.^Those who replied
that it had happened weekly or more often were classified as skipping breakfast weekly.
Exercise weekly was constructed from the same question as above and the item BYou
exercised so you became breathless or sweaty.^
Working Conditions and Safety in School and in the Neighborhood
Too high pace at school was measured from the question BWhen it comes to school-
work, do you think you can work at the pace that you want to?^The response
categories were BYes, ^BNo, I want to work faster,^and BNo, I want to work more
slowly.^Those who replied that they wanted to work more slowly were classified as
reporting too high pace. This question was posed only during 20072008.
Lack of order in classroom was measured from the item BIt is usually calm in the
classroom during classes,^with the response categories BYes^and BNo.^The item was
reversely coded.
Teachers help in school when needed was constructed from the question BWhen it
comes to schoolwork, do you think you get the help you need from the teachers at
school?^with the response categories BYes, always^and BYes, often^dichotomized
against BNo, not so often^and BNo, never.^
Idobetteratschoolthanmostotherswas constructed from the question BCompared
with your classmates, how good do you believe you are in school?^The response
categories were BAmong the best,^BBetter than most others,^BAboutasgoodasmost
others,^BLess good than most others,^and BAmong the least good.^Participants who
answered any of the first two options were coded as responding that they did better at
school than most others.
Feeling unsafe during breaks at school was constructed from the question BDo you
feel safe during breaks at school?^with the response categories BYes^and BNo.^
Been threatened, hit or chased in my neighborhood was assessed by the question
BThere has been an incident where I was threatened, hit, or chased in the past 6
months^and the response alternatives BYes^and BNo.^
Feeling unsafe in the neighborhood was constructed from the two questions BDo
you feel safe outside in your neighborhood during daytime^and the same question
regarding Bat night^and the response alternatives BYes^and BNo^. Those who
responded BNo^on either of the two questions were coded as feeling unsafe while
those who responded Byes^on both was coded as feeling safe.
Culture and Leisure Time Activities
Read books weekly was measured from the question BDuring a usual week how many
days do you usually^and the item BRead books^. The response categories were
BEvery day^,BSeveral days a week^,BOnedayaweek^,BMore seldom^andBNever^.
Organized sports activity weekly was measured from the same question as above and
the item BPractice sports in a club, e.g., football, horse-riding, swimming^.
Organized non-sport activity weekly was measured from the same question as above
and the item BAttend an activity with an adult leader which has not to do with sports,
e.g. scouts, theater, chess^.
880 Fransson E. et al.
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
Do housework 3 h weekly was based on the question BAbout how many hours per
week do you usually help out at home?^with the response categories BLess than 1 h^,
B12h^,B34h^,B5 h or more^and BI usually dont^. The response alternatives B3
4h^and B5 h or more^were used to form the category at least 3 h as opposed to less.
Theater was based on the question BDid you visit any of the following during the
past 6 months?^and the item BTheater^, with the response categories BYes ^and BNo^.
Cinema was based on the same question as above and the item BCinema^.
Museum was based on the same question as above and the item BMuseum or art
exhibition^.
The Living Conditions of Children with Shared Residence 881
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... 1.11 (1.05-1.17 Dissing et al., 2017;Fransson et al., 2018;Hagquist, 2016;Neoh & Mellor, 2010;Rattay et al., 2018;Wadsby et al., 2014). In 2018, self-rated health was not associated with family structure after adjustment for ability to communicate with parents. ...
... Only a few studies have investigated the association between living arrangements and adolescent health (Bergström et al., 2015(Bergström et al., , 2013Brolin Låftman et al., 2014;Carlsund et al., 2013;Fransson et al., 2018;Hagquist, 2016). Results of these studies are not consistent. ...
... In the other hand, studies reported no differences between living arrangements among adolescents not living with both parents (Carlsund et al., 2013;Hagquist, 2016). The indicators used to measure health were very heterogeneous: subjective health complaints (Carlsund et al., 2013), health related to quality of life (Fransson et al., 2018), psychosomatic problems (Bergström et al., 2015), etc. The study of Fransson et al. is an exception and uses the same indicator as ours: self-rated health (Fransson et al., 2018). ...
Article
This study analyzes the associations between living arrangements after a parental separation, and the adolescent’s self-rated health and life satisfaction in French-speaking Belgium. Data are based on 39,294 adolescents who participated in the three waves of the cross-sectional HBSC survey. Among adolescents living with separated parents, the self-rated health was not associated with living arrangements after adjustment for the perception of family wealth and the ability to communicate with parents. Adolescent’s life satisfaction was not associated with living arrangement when controlled for perceived family wealth in 2014 and controlled for quality of communication with parents in 2010 and 2018.
... Thus, joint physical custody arrangements can be clearly distinguished from sole physical custody arrangements, in which children spend less than 30% of their time with one parent (i.e. the non-residential parent), and, consequently, more than 70% of their time with the other parent (i.e. the residential parent). Although the prevalence of joint physical custody differs significantly across countries-and is notably higher in Northern Europe, with the proportions of all post-separation families that practice joint physical custody reaching 30% in Norway (Kitterød & Wiik, 2017) and up to 40% in Sweden (Fransson et al., 2018)-this care arrangement has become a viable alternative to traditional physical custody arrangements in many Western countries (Bergström et al., 2015;Fransson et al., 2018;Melli & Brown, 2008;Spruijt & Duindam, 2009). ...
... Thus, joint physical custody arrangements can be clearly distinguished from sole physical custody arrangements, in which children spend less than 30% of their time with one parent (i.e. the non-residential parent), and, consequently, more than 70% of their time with the other parent (i.e. the residential parent). Although the prevalence of joint physical custody differs significantly across countries-and is notably higher in Northern Europe, with the proportions of all post-separation families that practice joint physical custody reaching 30% in Norway (Kitterød & Wiik, 2017) and up to 40% in Sweden (Fransson et al., 2018)-this care arrangement has become a viable alternative to traditional physical custody arrangements in many Western countries (Bergström et al., 2015;Fransson et al., 2018;Melli & Brown, 2008;Spruijt & Duindam, 2009). ...
... With considerable numbers of children in Western countries experiencing a parental separation or divorce (Härkönen, 2014;Wagner, 2019) and the increasing prevalence of joint physical custody across Western societies (Bergström et al., 2015;Fransson et al., 2018;Melli & Brown, 2008;Spruijt & Duindam, 2009), the topic of children's health and well-being in joint physical custody arrangements has attracted considerable attention from researchers in recent years. Because previous research has shown that living in different physical custody arrangements may be associated with children's well-being in post-separation families, this study aimed to contribute to the growing body of literature on this topic by investigating the relationship between physical custody arrangements, children's experiences of parental loyalty conflict behaviours and their mental health. ...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigated the association between joint physical custody (JPC), parental loyalty conflict (PLC) behaviours and children's mental health in a sample of 284 children aged 11 to 14 from the FAMOD survey. The results of the linear regression models indicated that children in JPC families had better mental health than children in sole physical custody families, and that PLC behaviours negatively affected children's mental health. Furthermore, children's experiences of PLC behaviours moderated the association between JPC and their mental health, with high levels of PLC behaviours leading to a noticeable decline in the mental health of children in JPC families.
... Each parent-child relationship is constructed more directly, rather than one parent mediating the child's relationship with the other, giving children greater autonomy and bargaining power (Berman 2015). Full-time engagement may increase feelings of closeness with parents, especially fathers who would otherwise have only visits with their children (Fransson et al. 2018). Children may even spend more time with each parent than do children whose parents live together (Berman 2015). ...
... Shared physical custody is inversely associated with distance between parental homes (Bakker and Mulder 2013;Kitteröd and Lyngstad 2012), and shifts from shared to sole physical custody are more likely to occur when parents live further apart . Housing costs also underlie the positive association between parents' education or income and shared physical custody (Fransson et al. 2018;Kitteröd and Lyngstad 2012;Pelletier 2016). ...
... First, I examine multiple child outcomes; not only children's psychological well-being, but also their educational performance and social integration. The latter outcome has rarely been studied (but see Fransson et al. 2018;Prazen et al. 2011), yet the extent to which children are socially integrated, as indicated by their friendships, may in particular be negatively affected by high spatial mobility. Second, the analyses extend measures of parent-child contact beyond child main residence and include nonresident father-child contact, as differences between shared residence and frequent father visitation may only be gradual. ...
Book
Full-text available
This open access book provides an overview of the ever-growing phenomenon of children in shared physical custody thereby providing legal, psychological, family sociological and demographical insights. It describes how, despite the long evolution of broken families, only the last decade has seen a radical shift in custody arrangements for children in divorced families and the gender revolution in parenting which is taking place. The chapters have a national or cross-national perspective and address topics like prevalence and types of shared physical custody, legal frames regulating custody arrangements, stability and changes in arrangements across the life course of children, socio‐economic, psychological, social well-being of various family members involved in different custody arrangements. With the book being an interdisciplinary collaboration, it is interesting read for social scientists in demography, sociology, psychology, law and policy makers with an interest family studies and custody arrangements.
... Each parent-child relationship is constructed more directly, rather than one parent mediating the child's relationship with the other, giving children greater autonomy and bargaining power (Berman 2015). Full-time engagement may increase feelings of closeness with parents, especially fathers who would otherwise have only visits with their children (Fransson et al. 2018). Children may even spend more time with each parent than do children whose parents live together (Berman 2015). ...
... Shared physical custody is inversely associated with distance between parental homes (Bakker and Mulder 2013;Kitteröd and Lyngstad 2012), and shifts from shared to sole physical custody are more likely to occur when parents live further apart (Poortman and van Gaalen 2017). Housing costs also underlie the positive association between parents' education or income and shared physical custody (Fransson et al. 2018;Kitteröd and Lyngstad 2012;Pelletier 2016). ...
Chapter
Full-text available
In this chapter, we identify structural features of families with shared physical custody that differ from those of nuclear families or those of families where one parent has sole physical custody, and discuss the implications for family and kin relationships. We pay particular attention to the ways in which shared physical custody alters the gendered nature of parenting and kinship. We argue that the structural features of shared physical custody create distinct contexts for parent-child and sibling relationships and produce differences in shared understandings of obligations between family members. The unique context for relationships and obligations together constitute a new family form. Our analysis generates an agenda for future research on the nature and consequences of shared physical custody.
... In summary, it can be noted that the study evidence is mixed, depending on which contexts are used, how SPC is defined, and which outcomes are considered for the children. Altogether the studies point to-if any-only minor advantages of SPC compared to sole care models (Bergström et al. 2015;Fransson et al. 2018). Compared to two-parent families there are hardly any disadvantages in child well-being (e.g., Hagquist 2016). ...
Article
Full-text available
Most children continue to live with their mother after a divorce or separation, yet paternal involvement in post-separation families has increased substantially in many Western nations. This shift has contributed to a growing share and more diverse set of post-separation parents opting for shared physical custody (SPC), which typically means that children alternate between the parental residences for substantive amounts of time. Profiling the case of Germany, where no legal regulations facilitating SPC are implemented to date, we examine the prevalence of SPC families, sociodemographic correlates of SPC, and its associations with parental coparenting and child adjustment. Using representative survey data sampled in 2019 (N = 800 minors of 509 separated parents), results revealed that only 6–8% of children practiced SPC. SPC parents were more likely to hold tertiary levels of schooling and to report a better coparenting relationship with the other parent. There was no link between SPC and child adjustment, yet conflictual coparenting was linked to higher levels of hyperactivity among SPC children. We conclude that the social selection into SPC and linkages between conflictual coparenting and hyperactivity among SPC children likely stem from the higher costs and the constant level of communication between the ex-partners that SPC requires.
... Több vizsgálatban állították fókuszba a gyermekek jóllétét, illetve pszichés nehézségeit és viselkedési problémáit az elhelyezés függvényében (Bergström és mtsai, 2014;Bergström és mtsai, 2015;Carlsund, Eriksson, & Sellström, 2012;Fransson, Låftman, Östberg, Hjern, & Bergström, 2018). A nukleáris családokban élő gyermekek jólléte rendszerint magasabbnak bizonyult az elvált szülők gyermekeinél, ugyanakkor szignifikáns különbség rajzolódott ki a váltott elhelyezésben és az egy szülőnél történő elhelyezés között: a legalacsonyabb jóllét az utolsó csoportban mutatkozott. ...
Article
Full-text available
Tanulmányunk célja áttekintést nyújtani a válás utáni közös szülőségre, a szülők együttműködésére és konfliktusaira vonatkozó főbb kutatási eredményekről. A közös szülőség fogalma a szülők közötti interakciókat, kapcsolatot jelenti, amit a válást követően is szükséges fenntartani. Tanulmányunkban egyrészt kitérünk a közös szülőség egyes aspektusaira (szülői kommunikáció, egymás támogatása–aláásása, konfliktusok és konfliktuskezelés), másrészt a vonatkozó vizsgálatokban leggyakrabban megjelenő háttérváltozókra (válási folyamat, elhelyezés típusa). A válás következményei, az új helyzethez való alkalmazkodás sikeressége mind a szülők, mind a gyerekek részéről jelentős társadalmi fontossággal bír, ennek ellenére a válás utáni közös szülőség témája csak egy-egy hazai publikációban jelenik meg. Jelen tanulmánnyal célunk ennek a hiánynak a pótlása, valamint a kérdéskör hazai kutatásának inicializálása. A vizsgált szakirodalom alapján elmondható, hogy a párkapcsolat felbomlása után kiemelten fontos egy új egyensúlyi állapot kialakítása, mivel a közös szülőség minősége összefüggést mutat a gyermekek és a felnőttek jóllétével is. A vonatkozó empirikus szakirodalom egy része azokra a preventív képzési programokra irányul, amelyek a válás utáni közös szülőség minőségének fejlesztését tűzték ki célul. Említést teszünk ezért több ilyen programról, röviden ismertetve a sajátosságaikat és a kapcsolatos empirikus eredményeket. Következtetésként elmondható, hogy a válást követő közös szülőség komplex témaköre és a szülők sokszor eltérő narratívája miatt olyan diádikus kutatási megközelítés választása indokolt, amellyel ez az összetettség megragadható. Felhívjuk továbbá a figyelmet arra, hogy hazánkban hiányoznak az elvált szülőknek kínált edukációs programok, pedig a szülők és gyermekek jóllétének érdekében fontos lenne ezek kifejlesztése, hatékonyságuk vizsgálata és a megfelelő hatékonyságú programok rendszerszintű elterjesztése. This study aims to provide a review of the main research findings on coparenting after divorce, parental cooperation and conflicts. The concept of coparenting refers to the interactions and relationship between parents which must be maintained even after divorce. In our paper, we cover some aspects of coparenting (parental communication, mutual support, undermining, conflicts and conflict management) and the most common background variables in the relevant studies (divorce process, type of custody). The consequences of divorce and the success of adapting to the new situation are of significant importance for both parents and children, however, the topic of coparenting after divorce appears in few Hungarian publications. With the present study, we aim to fill this gap and to initialize domestic research on the issue. Based on the examined literature, it can be stated that the formation of a new state of equilibrium after the dissolution of the relationship is of great importance, as the quality of coparenting is related to the well-being of children and adults as well. Some of the relevant empirical literature relates to preventive training programs aimed at improving the quality of coparenting after divorce. We, therefore, mention several such programs, briefly describing their specifics and related empirical results. In conclusion, due to the complex topic of coparenting after divorce and the often different narratives of parents, it is justified to choose a dyadic research approach that can capture this complexity. We would also like to draw attention to the fact that there is a lack of educational programs for divorced parents in Hungary, although it would be important to develop and disseminate them widely for the well-being of parents and children.
... First, I examine multiple child outcomes; not only children's psychological well-being, but also their educational performance and social integration. The latter outcome has rarely been studied (but see Fransson et al. 2018;Prazen et al. 2011), yet the extent to which children are socially integrated, as indicated by their friendships, may in particular be negatively affected by high spatial mobility. Second, the analyses extend measures of parent-child contact beyond child main residence and include nonresident father-child contact, as differences between shared residence and frequent father visitation may only be gradual. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Shared physical custody, or more generally, frequent contact with both parents is often assumed to benefit children, but having to move back and forth between parents’ homes may also be harmful, particularly when parents live far apart. This study examined the role of spatial mobility in the association between frequent parent-child contact and multiple child outcomes. Using the New Families in the Netherlands survey, analyses firstly showed that frequent parent-child contact, on average, was found to be not or modestly associated with better child outcomes. Second, spatial mobility mattered, but in varying ways. Long travel times were negatively associated with children’s contact with friends and their psychological well-being, but positively related to educational performance. Furthermore, frequent commutes were negatively associated with how often children saw their friends, but positively associated with child psychological well-being. Third, and most importantly, the impact of parent-child contact and frequent commutes on child outcomes were found to be dependent on traveling time. For child psychological well-being and contact with friends, frequent parent-child contact and/or frequent commutes were found to have positive effects when travel distances were short, but these positive effects disappeared when traveling times increased.
Chapter
The purpose of this chapter is the study of the development of joint physical custody in Europe. Its growth is understood in the context of the Second Demographic Transition, a theoretical framework that in its recent versions emphasises female education and gender equality as main drives for momentous family transformations. The chapter focuses on various experiences of five European countries concerning joint physical custody and deals with the relationship between its prevalence and patterns of gender equality. The final section concentrates on outcomes from adolescents with shared custody in relation to other living arrangements. The chapter concludes by highlighting the existence of wide European disparities in this respect and urges the collection of comparable data so that progress can be adequately measured and understood.
Article
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Re)doing parent-child relationships in dual residence arrangements: Swedish children's narratives about changing relations after separation This article explores children's experiences about growing up in dual residence arrangements, i.e. post-separation arrangements where children share their time equally between their parents. It focuses on children's narratives of redoing family relationships after separation. Guided by a social constructionist approach, the analysis is based on in-depth and reflexive interviews with nineteen co-parented children aged 9-17. The ways in which children and parents shape everyday life through interaction and negotiations in each family-unit, are illuminated by the concept of doing family. Many children point out how they get more attention and more time on their own with each parent. Results demonstrate that many participants perceive the relationships with their parents differently after separation, corresponding to a novel reflexivity concerning the family as well as new ways of positioning themselves. Over time, the break-up of the nuclear family, however difficult , brings an opportunity for children to reflect on family ties in a new way. In so doing, it becomes possible to question relationships as well as to build closer and more profound connections with family members. Zusammenfassung In diesem Artikel werden die Erfahrungen von Kindern beleuchtet, die in Doppelresidenz-Arrangements aufwachsen, d.h. in Nachschei-dungsarrangements in denen Kinder gleich viel Zeit mit beiden Elternteilen verbringen. Der Fo-kus liegt dabei auf den Erzählungen der Kinder, in denen sie berichten, wie die Familien-beziehungen nach der Trennung (neu) hergestellt werden. Auf einen sozialkonstruktivistischen Ansatz aufbauend, basiert die Analyse auf ausführlichen, reflexiven Interviews mit neunzehn Kindern im Alter von 9 bis 17 Jahren, die zu gleichen Zeitan-teilen bei beiden Elternteilen leben. Die Art und Weise, wie Eltern und Kinder durch Interaktion und Aushandlungen in beiden Familienhaushalten ihr Alltagsleben formen, wird mithilfe des " Doing Family "-Konzepts veranschaulicht. Viele dieser Kinder heben hervor, wie sie mehr Zuwendung, aber auch mehr Zeit für sich selbst bei jedem Elternteil bekommen. Die Ergebnisse zeigen auf, dass viele Studienteilnehmer die Beziehungen zu ihren Eltern nach der Trennung anders wahr-nehmen, was sowohl mit einer neuartigen Reflexi-vität in Bezug auf die Familie als auch mit neuen Vorgehensweisen hinsichtlich der eigenen Positio-nierung einhergeht. Im Laufe der Zeit bietet die Auflösung der Kernfamilie, wenn sie auch für die Kinder schwer ist, den Kindern die Möglichkeit, über Familienbande neu nachzudenken. Dadurch wird es möglich, sowohl Beziehungen in Frage zu stellen als auch engere und tiefere Verbindungen zu Familienmitgliedern aufzubauen.
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Aims: Increasing proportions of Scandinavian children and children in other Western countries live in joint physical custody, moving between parents' homes when parents live apart. Children and parents in non-intact families are at risk of worse mental health. The potential influence of parental ill-health on child well-being in the context of differing living arrangements has not been studied thoroughly. This study investigates the psychological complaints of children in joint physical custody in comparison to children in sole parental care and nuclear families, while controlling for socioeconomic differences and parental ill-health. Methods: Data were obtained from Statistics Sweden's yearly Survey of Living Conditions 2007-2011 and child supplements with children 10-18 years, living in households of adult participants. Children in joint physical custody (n=391) were compared with children in sole parental care (n=654) and children in nuclear families (n=3,639), using a scale of psychological complaints as the outcome measure. Results: Multiple regression modelling showed that children in joint physical custody did not report higher levels of psychological complaints than those in nuclear families, while children in sole parental care reported elevated levels of complaints compared with those in joint physical custody. Adding socioeconomic variables and parental ill-health only marginally attenuated the coefficients for the living arrangement groups. Low parental education and parental worry/anxiety were however associated with higher levels of psychological complaints. Conclusions: Psychological complaints were lower among adolescents in joint physical custody than in adolescents in sole parental care. The difference was not explained by parental ill-health or socioeconomic variables.
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We use several family-based indicators of household poverty as well as child-reported economic resources and problems to unravel child poverty trends in Sweden. Our results show that absolute (bread-line) household income poverty, as well as economic deprivation, increased with the recession 1991–96, then reduced and has remained largely unchanged since 2006. Relative income poverty has however increased since the mid-1990s. When we measure child poverty by young people’s own reports, we find few trends between 2000 and 2011. The material conditions appear to have improved and relative poverty has changed very little if at all, contrasting the development of household relative poverty. This contradictory pattern may be a consequence of poor parents distributing relatively more of the household income to their children in times of economic duress, but future studies should scrutinze potentially delayed negative consequences as poor children are lagging behind their non-poor peers. Our methodological conclusion is that although parental and child reports are partly substitutable, they are also complementary, and the simultaneous reporting of different measures is crucial to get a full understanding of trends in child poverty.
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Background: In many Western countries, an increasing number of children with separated parents have joint physical custody, that is, live equally much in their parent's respective homes. In Sweden, joint physical custody is particularly common and concerns between 30% and 40% of the children with separated parents. It has been hypothesised that the frequent moves and lack of stability in parenting may be stressful for these children. Methods: We used data from a national classroom survey of all sixth and ninth grade students in Sweden (N=147839) to investigate the association between children's psychosomatic problems and living arrangements. Children in joint physical custody were compared with those living only or mostly with one parent and in nuclear families. We conducted sex-specific linear regression analyses for z-transformed sum scores of psychosomatic problems and adjusted for age, country of origin as well as children's satisfaction with material resources and relationships to parents. Clustering by school was accounted for by using a two-level random intercept model. Results: Children in joint physical custody suffered from less psychosomatic problems than those living mostly or only with one parent but reported more symptoms than those in nuclear families. Satisfaction with their material resources and parent-child relationships was associated with children's psychosomatic health but could not explain the differences between children in the different living arrangements. Conclusions: Children with non-cohabitant parents experience more psychosomatic problems than those in nuclear families. Those in joint physical custody do however report better psychosomatic health than children living mostly or only with one parent. Longitudinal studies with information on family factors before and after the separation are needed to inform policy of children's postseparation living arrangements.
Chapter
This article explores children’s experiences about growing up in dual residence arrangements, i.e. post-separation arrangements where children share their time equally between their parents. It focuses on children’s narratives of re-doing family relationships after separation. Guided by a social constructionist approach, the analysis is based on in-depth and reflexive interviews with nineteen co-parented children aged 9-17. The ways in which children and parents shape everyday life through interaction and negotiations in each family-unit, are illuminated by the concept of doing family. Many children point out how they get more attention and more time on their own with each parent. Results demonstrate that many participants perceive the relationships with their parents differently post-separation, corresponding to a novel reflexivity concerning the family as well as new ways of positioning themselves. Over time, the break-up of the nuclear family, however difficult, brings an opportunity for children to reflect on family ties in a new way. In so doing, it becomes possible to question relationships as well as to build closer and more profound connections with family members.
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One of the most complex and compelling issues confronting policymakers, parents, and professionals involved in making custody decisions is this: What type of parenting plan is most beneficial for the children after their parents separate? More specifically, are the outcomes any better or worse for children who live with each parent at least 35% of the time compared to children who live primarily with their mother and spend less than 35% of the time living with their father? This article addresses this question by summarizing the 40 studies that have compared children in these two types of families during the past 25 years. Overall the children in shared parenting families had better outcomes on measures of emotional, behavioral, and psychological well-being, as well as better physical health and better relationships with their fathers and their mothers, benefits that remained even when there were high levels of conflict between their parents.
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