Children ‘no less happy in single-parent homes,’ study finds
Of the children living with a lone parent, 36% said they were happy 'all the time' while the remaining 64 per cent reported being happy 'sometimes or never'
Wednesday 23 April 2014
Children raised by a single parent are no less happy than those living with two biological parents, a study has found.
Researchers from NatCen Social Research found family composition has “no significant effect” on the happiness of children. Rather, it is the quality of relationships at home which are most strongly linked to a child’s well-being.
The results challenge the popular conception that children in two-parent families are more likely to be stable and content than those raised in “broken” homes.
Researchers analysed data from the Millennium Cohort Study, which was made up of 12,877 children aged seven, in 2008, from across the UK. The children came from three family types: those living with two biological parents; those living with a step-parent and a biological parent; and those with just a single parent.
The seven-year-olds were asked the question: “How often do you feel happy?”
Of the children living with a lone parent, 36 per cent said they were happy “all the time” while the remaining 64 per cent reported being happy “sometimes or never”.
Exactly the same percentages were recorded when the question was put to children from the other family types.
The results were largely unchanged when other factors which could influence a child’s well-being – such as their parents’ social class or the affluence of the area in which they live – were taken into account.
Jenny Chanfreau, a senior researcher at NatCen, said that a “happy, harmonious family dynamic” was crucial for child happiness, adding: “It’s the quality of the relationships in the home that matters, not the family composition.”
Ms Chanfreau told the British Sociological Association’s annual conference in Leeds: “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.”
The study’s findings contradict previous research which indicates that family division is likely to have a detrimental effect on children.
One 2008 report, based on figures from the Office for National Statistics, claimed that children whose parents had split up were four and a half times more likely to develop emotional problems than those whose parents had stayed together.
Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way
Review: Despite an uphill climb to see Jake Bugg in action, his performance is notably flat
Life & Style blogs
iPhone 6 'catches on fire and burns man's leg after bending in his pocket'
The hoverboard is real, and it could give rise to hoverhouses
Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
The inventor of the Facebook 'like' button says he never made a 'dislike' button because he feared the 'unfortunate consequences'
Lynda Bellingham dead: Bowel cancer - what is it and what are the symptoms?
- 1 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery reports: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 2 Salisbury ranked seventh-best city in the world to visit in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015
- 3 Disney announces new female-led film Moana
- 4 Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 5 Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: We are urgently seeking an exper...
£35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 5 month Fixed Term Contract - Telecommunicati...
£18000 per annum + competitive OTE: SThree: Progressive in Manchester is seeki...
£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...