Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Children living with lone parent are as happy as those with two

Date:
April 24, 2014
Source:
British Sociological Association
Summary:
Children living with a step-parent or a lone parent are as happy as those living with two biological parents, a study indicates. In a major UK study on wellbeing, researchers analyzed data from 12,877 children aged seven in 2008, and found no significant difference in happiness. Whether the children lived with two biological parents, a step-parent and biological parent, or in a single parent family, made no difference to how they rated their happiness: 64% said they were happy 'sometimes or never', and 36% said they were 'happy all the time'.

Children living with a step-parent or a lone parent are as happy as those living with two biological parents, the British Sociological Association's annual conference in Leeds heard.

Related Articles


In a major UK study on wellbeing, researchers from NatCen Social Research analysed data from the Millennium Cohort Study on 12,877 children aged seven in 2008 and found no significant difference in happiness.

Whether the children lived with two biological parents, a step-parent and biological parent, or in a single parent family, made no difference to how they rated their happiness: 64% said they were happy 'sometimes or never', and 36% said they were 'happy all the time'.

Even when the researchers statistically removed the effects of other factors such as parental social class so that the effects of family type were isolated, the results showed no significant differences.

Jenny Chanfreau, Senior Researcher at NatCen, told the conference that, in contrast, relationships with parents and other children were strongly linked with how likely the seven-year-olds were to be happy. For instance, factors such as getting on well with siblings and not being bullied at school were associated with being happy all the time.

Ms Chanfreau said they found a similar result when analysing another set of survey data on 2,679 children aged 11 to 15 in the UK -- this also showed no significant statistical difference in the level of wellbeing among children in the three types of family when the effects of family type were studied in isolation.

Ms Chanfreau told the conference: "We found that the family type had no significant effect on the happiness of the seven-year-olds or the 11-15 year olds.

"It's the quality of the relationships in the home that matters -- not the family composition. Getting on well with siblings, having fun with the family at weekends, and having a parent who reported rarely or never shouting when the child was naughty, were all linked with a higher likelihood of being happy all the time among seven-year olds.

"Pupil relations at school are also important -- being bullied at school or being 'horrible' to others was strongly associated with lower happiness in the seven-year-olds, for instance."

Ms Chanfreau worked with Cheryl Lloyd, Christos Byron, Caireen Roberts, Rachel Craig and Sally McManus of NatCen Research on the analysis and report, and Danielle De Feo of the Department of Health also contributed.

Results summary:

In the Millennium Cohort Study survey, data were gathered in 2008 on 12,877 children aged seven, and their parents.

Of those children living with two biological (or adoptive) parents: 64% said they were 'sometimes or never' happy and 36% said they were happy 'all the time'. The exact same percentages were found for those living with one step-parent and one biological parent, and for those living with a lone parent.

The researchers then statistically controlled for other factors, such as their parents' class and the level of the deprivation in the area where the home was, so that the influence of the family type on the seven-year-olds could be studied in isolation.

After doing this they found that those in living with a step-parent and a biological parent, and those living with a lone parent, were marginally less likely to be in the 'happy all the time' category, but this result was negligible and not statistically significant, and so was discounted.

Instead, factors such as relationships with others were found to be both important and statistically valid, including getting on with their siblings, having friends, having fun with the family or not being bullied at school.

A fourth family type -- those not living with either a natural or adoptive parent -- was linked with reduced happiness, but there were so few children in this category (forming only 0.3% of the total) that no further statistical analysis could be carried out.

The researchers also used data from the Understanding Society Study survey, gathered from 2009-2011 on 2,679 people aged 11 to 15. After removing other factors to isolate the effect of family type, the researchers found that those living with one step-parent and one biological parent were slightly more likely to be happier than those living with two biological (or adoptive) parents, and that those living with a lone parent were slightly less likely to be as happy as those living with two biological parents; however neither result was statistically significant and both were discounted. In effect, the family type had no effect on the 11-15 year-olds' happiness.

The researchers' study was funded by Department of Health. The full report is available here: media/205352/predictors-of-wellbeing.pdf" href="http://www.natcen.ac.uk/media/205352/predictors-of-wellbeing.pdf" _fcksavedurl="http://www.natcen.ac.uk/media/205352/predictors-of-wellbeing.pdf">http://www.natcen.ac.uk/media/205352/predictors-of-wellbeing.pdf


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by British Sociological Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

British Sociological Association. "Children living with lone parent are as happy as those with two." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140424102603.htm>.
British Sociological Association. (2014, April 24). Children living with lone parent are as happy as those with two. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140424102603.htm
British Sociological Association. "Children living with lone parent are as happy as those with two." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140424102603.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins