Experiments in Living: The Fatherless Family
Rebecca O’Neill (September 2002)
Effects on the Social Fabric
The weight of evidence indicates that the traditional family based upon a married father and mother is still the best environment for raising children, and it forms the soundest basis for the wider society.
Experiments in Living:
John Stuart Mill famously called for ‘experiments in living’ so that we might learn from one another. For about 30 years we have been conducting such an experiment with the family. The time has now come to appraise the results.
‘As it is useful that while mankind are imperfect there should be different opinions, so is it that there should be different experiments of living; that free scope should be given to varieties of character, short of injury to others; and that the worth of different modes of life should be proved practically, when any one thinks fit to try them.’
In this passage from On Liberty (1859) the nineteenth-century champion of freedom, J.S. Mill, argued that there could be a public benefit in permitting lifestyle experimentation. His reasoning was that, just as we distinguish truth from falsehood by the clash of opinion, so we might learn how to improve human lives by permitting a contest in lifestyles. However, Mill did not expect such experiments to go on for ever. ‘It would be absurd,’ he said:
‘to pretend that people ought to live as if nothing whatever had been known in the world before they came into it; as if experience had as yet done nothing towards showing that one mode of existence, or of conduct, is preferable to another.’
In the 1970s and 1980s many people argued that the traditional family – based upon a married biological father and mother and their children – was outdated. Under the guise of ‘freedom of choice’, ‘self-fulfilment’, and ‘equal respect for all kinds of families’, feminists and social rebels led a campaign to experiment with different family structures. Sometimes it was claimed that women and children did not need men, and were, in fact, often better off without them. On occasion it was said that families were not breaking down, they were just changing; that the most important thing for children was their parents’ happiness and self-fulfilment; and that children were resilient and would suffer few negative effects of divorce and family disruption. The idea of ‘staying together for the children’s sake’ was often derided. Some parents embraced the new thinking, but not all of those who took part in the ‘fatherless family experiment’ were willing subjects. As the idea that mothers and children did not need fathers took hold, many social and legal supports for marriage weakened. Some mothers and children were simply abandoned. Some fathers were pushed away.
Mill’s argument formed part of his wider case for avoiding social control unless the interests of other people were harmed. People were entitled to act on their own opinions ‘without hindrance, either physical or moral, from their fellow-men’ so long as it was ‘at their own risk and peril’. This last proviso, he said, was ‘of course indispensable’. He insisted that:
‘When … a person is led to violate a distinct and assignable obligation to any other person or persons, the case is taken out of the self-regarding class, and becomes amenable to moral disapprobation in the proper sense of the term.’
He specifically mentions the responsibility of a father for his children:
‘If, for example, a man, through intemperance or extravagance, becomes unable to pay his debts, or, having undertaken the moral responsibility of a family, becomes from the same cause incapable of supporting or educating them, he is deservedly reprobated, and might be justly punished; but it is for the breach of duty to his family or creditors, not for the extravagance.’
After three decades of experimenting with the fatherless family, we are now in a position to evaluate the results.
Fewer children live with both their mother and their father
The proportion of all households comprising a mother and father with dependent children fell from 38% in 1961 to 23% in 2001, while the percentage of lone-parent households tripled over the same period, from 2% to 6%.1
Routes into the fatherless family
The increase in the number and proportion of loneparent households occurred in part due to increased divorce. At the same time, other social changes were occurring. Fewer people married, and more chose to cohabit before or instead of marrying. More children were born outside marriage. These changes created several routes into fatherless households.
The Divorce Reform Act of 1969 was followed by a spike of divorces, representing a backlog of several thousand couples who possibly had already decided to divorce. However, from 1974, the number of divorces began a gradual increase and peaked in 1993 at 180,000 in the UK. Although the actual number of divorces annually has dropped to 142,000 in 2000, this is mainly due to decreasing marriage. The annual rate of divorce has hovered around 13 per thousand married population throughout the 1990s.5
From the child’s viewpoint: Throughout the 1990s, about 55% of divorces involved a child under age 16.6 Twenty-five percent of children whose parents divorced in 2000 were under age five. Seventy percent were ten years old or younger.7 Overall, 36% of children born to married parents are likely to experience their parents’ divorce by the time they reach age 16.8
Births outside marriage
For most of the twentieth century, the percentage of births outside marriage hovered around 5%. Starting in the 1960s, the proportion began to increase gradually, reaching 10% in 1975, after which it began to increase more quickly. By 2000, the proportion of births outside marriage had quadrupled to 40%.9
Changes in Marriage and Cohabitation
Numbers and rates of first marriages have fallen drastically. The number of first marriages fell from 300,000 in 1961 to 180,000 in 2000. The rate of first marriages has fallen from 83 per thousand single women in 1961 to 33 per thousand in 2000. For men, the rate has fallen from 75 per thousand in 1961 to 26 per thousand in 2000.
Although the number of re-marriages has increased from 19,000 for men in 1961 to 75,000 in 2000 and from 18,000 to 36,000 for women, the rates have fallen sharply over the same period from 163 per thousand divorced population to 42 per thousand for men and from 97 per thousand to 36 per thousand for women.10
Marriage and re-marriage are increasingly being preceded or replaced by cohabiting unions. The proportion of single women in cohabiting relationships doubled from 13% in 1986 to 25% in 1999.11 Cohabiting unions currently make up 70% of first partnerships.12 Although cohabiting recently has become more socially acceptable, these types of unions tend to be fragile. Cohabitations last an average of two years before dissolving or being converted to marriage. Of cohabiting couples who do not marry, only about 18% survive at least ten years (compared to 75% of couples who marry).13
It is true that the percentage of children born to unpartnered mothers has remained about the same. In 2001, 7.3% of all births were registered solely to the mother (this represents 19% of all non-marital births). Another 7.3% of all births were jointly registered by the mother and the father, but the parents did not share the same address (this represents 19% of all non-marital births). Finally, 25.3% of all births were jointly registered with the mother and the father sharing the same address (these births to cohabiting couples represent 63% of all non-marital births)14 [see Figure 3]. So, many non-marital births actually occur within cohabiting partnerships. However, cohabiting unions are at much greater risk of dissolution, especially if they produce children.
So, when talking about cohabiting parents, the two important statistics to keep in mind are the following:
Cohabiting step-families are also on the increase. One in fourteen children is likely to live in an informal step-family at some time before their seventeenth birthday. The cohabiting man in these cases has neither a biological nor a legal tie to the lone mother’s child.17
Is the married two-parent family a thing of the past?
Most people still believe in the ideal of marriage and do, in fact, get married
The Results: How does the Fatherless Family Affect Adults, Children and Society?
NB: Indirect Effects, Selection Effects and Policy Implications
It has long been recognised that children growing up in lone-mother households are more likely to have emotional, academic, and financial problems and are more likely to engage in behaviour associated with social exclusion, such as offending, teenage pregnancy, alcohol and drug abuse or worklessness.
It can be difficult to disentangle the many factors and processes that contribute to these increased risks. For example, children from lone-mother households tend to experience more poverty than children from two-parent families. Observers might therefore ask whether poor outcomes are more the result of living in lone-mother households per se, or whether they are more the result of other factors, such as living in poverty, which may have been caused or worsened by living in a lone-mother family. In this case, some of the effects of loneparenthood operate indirectly through a kind of chain reaction causing poverty, which in turn causes other problems. These factors contribute to what are known as indirect effects.
It has also been pointed out that some of the factors which tend to coincide with living in a lone-mother household, such as poverty, may have existed prior to the break up of the parents’ marriage or cohabiting union or, in the case of unpartnered mothers, prior to the birth of the child. In other words, some of the negative outcomes experienced by children and adults who live in lone-mother households might have occurred even if the parents had maintained an intact family household. It also has been argued that lone-mother households might have been formed due to negative situations such as domestic violence or other forms of conflict.
In these cases, some of the poor outcomes experienced by those who live in lone-parent households might be the result of having lived with conflict before the family dissolution. Families with existing problems and disadvantages might be ‘selected into’ lone-parent families. On the other hand, people who have had many advantages such as a stable and loving family background, economic security, and good education may be more likely to marry and maintain a parental partnership than those who had fewer advantages. Observers might ask whether positive outcomes in these cases are due more to the pre-existing advantages which were selected into stable two-parent families or more to benefits conferred by marriage itself. These factors contribute to what are known as selection effects.
Social scientists use special study designs and statistical methods to measure indirect and selection effects. Both types of effect are real, and they do play important roles in many outcomes. However, in most cases, they do not explain all of the increased risks associated with living in lone-mother households. This has important policy implications, because, even if all lone-mother households were brought above the poverty line, they would still have increased risks of some problems.
So, comparing the proportion of people from different family structures who experience various problems does provide a good picture of how people are really living. By exploring and controlling for the role of indirect effects and selection effects, social scientists can help explain how problems occur and perhaps help to devise solutions to problems. In this factsheet, we have tried to include both types of data, whenever they are available.
Are more likely to suffer from stress, depression, and other emotional and psychological problems
Have more health problems
May have more problems interacting with their children
Non-resident biological fathers
Are at risk of losing contact with their children
Are more likely to have health problems and engage in high-risk behaviour
Children living without their biological fathers
Are more likely to live in poverty and deprivation
Are more likely to have emotional or mental problems
Have more trouble in school
Tend to have more trouble getting along with others
Have higher risk of health problems
Are at greater risk of suffering physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.
Are more likely to run away from home
Teenagers living without their biological fathers
Are more likely to experience problems with sexual health
Are more likely to become teenage parents
Are more likely to offend
Are more likely to smoke
Are more likely to drink alcohol
Are more likely to take drugs
Are more likely to play truant from school
Are more likely to be excluded from school
Are more likely to leave school at 16
Are more likely to have adjustment problems
Young adults who grew up not living with their biological fathers
Are less likely to attain qualifications
Are more likely to experience unemployment
Are more likely to have low incomes
Are more likely be on income support
Are more likely to experience homelessness
Are more likely to be caught offending and go to jail
Are more likely to suffer from long term emotional and psychological problems
Are more likely to develop health problems
Tend to enter partnerships earlier and more often as a cohabitation
Are more likely to divorce or dissolve their cohabiting unions
Are more likely to have children outside marriage or outside any partnership
Effects on the Social Fabric
Disruptions in family life certainly have had an impact upon the men, women and children directly involved. However, it is increasingly the case that changes in patterns of family structure also have an effect on the larger society. It is difficult to disentangle which are causes and which are effects, but it is possible to explore some of the social changes associated with changes in family life that have occurred over recent decades.
Increased crime and violence
Over the past several decades, rates of crime have increased at the same time as rates of divorce, nonmarital childbearing, and lone parenthood have increased. The relationship between crime and family environment is complicated, especially when the role of poverty is also considered. To say that one has caused the others would be too simplistic. However, many scholars and policy makers who study crime have identified family breakdown as one among a cluster of disadvantages which are associated with criminal activity and with chronic reoffending.93
Decreased community ties
Recent research has identified community involvement as a good measure of social capital, a term which encompasses the many resources available to people through their social networks.
A growing divorce culture
There is disagreement as to whether liberalisation of divorce laws caused increased rates of divorce, or whether legal reform was a response to increased demand for divorce. The truth probably is some combination of these hypotheses. However, the fact that divorce has been firmly established as an option for married couples can actually have an impact on people’s behaviour.
Cycle of fatherlessness
There have been many historical periods in which children lived part or all of their lives without their fathers. These fathers were absent due to work or military obligations or died before their children reached adulthood.
A more recent trend involves more fathers deserting or being pushed out of their families, or their influence being reduced due to non-residence. In some families, this pattern has reproduced itself over several generations and has become the norm. Often, these families also live in areas of economic deprivation, high crime rates and low expectations. Within this environment, it has become easier and more acceptable to avoid integrating fathers into family life. These families have been described by some as ‘the underclass’ and by others as the ‘socially excluded’.100
Dependence on state welfare
The trend toward increasing numbers of lone-parent families has co-existed with increasing levels of dependence on state welfare. Several analysts of these two trends have argued that the changes in family structure have driven the increases in welfare dependence. Others have argued that they are mutually reinforcing.101
In 1971, 7% of the adult population of Great Britain was dependent upon welfare. That percentage increased gradually to peak at 13% in 1992. Since 1996, the percentage has dropped off slightly and is now at 10%. These changes occurred as the proportion of lone-parent households increased from 3% in 1971 to 6% in 2001.102
Why all these Effects?
Many of the poor outcomes associated with disrupted family backgrounds can be explained in part by the poverty or reduced income levels that occur around divorce, separation, and lone parenthood. In some cases, up to 50% of the observed differences between children from different backgrounds can be thus explained. Poverty tends to explain more of the risks associated with educational and employment outcomes than those related to partnering and parenting behaviour.
Poverty generally is defined by household income level, but there usually is much more involved than just low income. Low income can be a proxy for a number of other factors that cluster together such as poor health, high levels of unemployment, high crime rates, unsafe neighbourhoods, low quality schools and other community resources, and low expectations. Moreover, many studies that measure and control for poverty do not measure other important factors such as the quality of parenting or the level of conflict in the home. Poverty is a serious problem, but it does not explain everything. Recent research has shown that, for many outcomes, except in cases of severe poverty, the amount of money parents have is less important than how they spend it.103
Reduced parental and paternal attention
Many of the problems associated with fatherlessness seem to be related to reduced parental attention and social resources.104 Certainly, a child living without his or her father will receive less attention than a child living with both parents. This difference in amount of attention is key, but differences in the type of parental attention are also important.
Recent scholarship has emphasised the important role played by fathers.
Conditions before, during and after divorce
Parental divorce or separation can be thought of in terms of an ‘event’, important in its own right and because it leads to many changes. Separation can also be thought of as part of a ‘process’ which begins before separation and should be considered within that context. A consensus is developing that all of these aspects are important.108 However, divorce and separation are experienced differently by adults and children. What can seem like a ‘good divorce’ to adults can feel very different for children. In the absence of high levels of conflict, children are often not aware that their parents are experiencing difficulties. For these children, the divorce or separation itself can be problematic. It is even possible that children will be more affected by conflict created by the separation and continuing afterwards than they were when their parents were together.109
There are two categories of children most at risk for future psychological problems:
Evaluating the Results
The weight of evidence indicates that the traditional family based upon a married father and mother is still the best environment for raising children, and it forms the soundest basis for the wider society.
For many mothers, fathers and children, the ‘fatherless family’ has meant poverty, emotional heartache, ill health, lost opportunities, and a lack of stability. The social fabric – once considered flexible enough to incorporate all types of lifestyles – has been stretched and strained. Although a good society should tolerate people’s right to live as they wish, it must also hold adults responsible for the consequences of their actions. To do this, society must not shrink from evaluating the results of these actions. As J.S. Mill argued, a good society must share the lessons learnt from its experience and hold up ideals to which all can aspire.
‘Human beings owe to each other help to distinguish the better from the worse, and encouragement to choose the former and avoid the latter. They should be forever stimulating each other to increased exercise of their higher faculties and increased direction of their feelings and aims towards wise instead of foolish, elevating instead of degrading, objects and contemplations.’
-John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859
1 Social Trends 32 (2002), Office for National Statistics, London: The Stationery Office, p. 40.
2 Social Trends 32 (2002), Office for National Statistics, p. 48.
3 Ermisch, J. and Francesconi, M. (2000), ‘The increasing complexity of family relationships: Lifetime experience of lone motherhood and stepfamilies in Great Britain’, European Journal of Population 16, pp. 235–249.
4 King D., Hayden J. and Jackson R. (2000), ‘Population of households in England to 2001’, Population Trends 99, pp.13–19; and Social Trends 32 (2002), Office for National Statistics, p. 40.
5 Social Trends 32 (2002), Office for National Statistics, Table 2.8, pp. 43; and Social Trends 31 (2001), Office for National Statistics, London: The Stationery Office, Table 2.8, p. 44.
6 Marriage, Divorce and Adoption Statistics: Review of the Registrar General on marriages, divorces and adoptions in England and Wales (2002), Series FM2 28, Office for National Statistics, London: The Stationery Office.
7 Social Trends 32 (2002),Office for National Statistics, p. 49.
8 Ermisch, J. and Francesconi, M. (2000), ‘Patterns of household and family formation’, in Berthoud, R. and Gershuny, J. (eds.), Seven Years in the Lives of British Families, Bristol: The Policy Press, p. 39.
9 Social Trends 32 (2002), Office for National Statistics, p. 47.
10 Population Trends 108 (2002), Office for National Statistics, London: The Stationery Office, Tables 9.1–9.2, pp. 85–86.
11 Social Trends 32 (2002), Office for National Statistics, p. 42.
12 Ermisch and Francesconi (2000), ‘Patterns of household and family formation’, pp. 38–40.
13 Kiernan, K. (1999), ‘Cohabitation in Western Europe’, Population Trends 96, Office for National Statistics, London: The Stationery Office.
14 Population Trends 108 (2002), Office for National Statistics, Tables 3.1–3.3, pp. 74–76.
15 Ermisch, J. (2001), ‘Premarital cohabitation, childbearing and the creation of one-parent families’, ESRC Research Centre on Micro-Social Change, Paper Number 95–17, 1995, from British Household Panel Study; and Marsh A., McKay S., Smith A., and Stephenson A. (2001), ‘Low income families in Britain: work, welfare and social security in 1999’, DSS Research Report 138, London: The Stationery Office.
16 Ermisch and Francesconi (2000), ‘Patterns of household and family formation’, pp. 38–40.
17 Haskey, J. (1994), ‘Stepfamilies and stepchildren in Great Britain’, Population Trends 76, Office for National Statistics, London: The Stationery Office.
18 Social Trends 32 (2002), Office for National Statistics, p. 42.
19 Social Trends 32 (2002), Office for National Statistics, p. 43. Figures are for 1998.
20 Ermisch and Francesconi (2000), ‘Patterns of household and family formation’, p. 30.
21 Hill, C. (2000), Sex Under Sixteen?, London: Family Education Trust.
22 UN Economic Commission for Europe, Fertility and Family Surveys carried out annually 1992–1999.
23 Households Below Average Income 1994/95-2000/01, Department for Work and Pensions, London: The Stationery Office (2002), pp. 81. These figures are for Before Housing Costs. After Housing Costs figures retain the same ratio, 72% versus 36%.
24 Households Below Average Income 1994/95-2000/01, Department for Work and Pensions, p. 141.
25 Social Trends 32 (2002), Office for National Statistics, from Family Resources Survey, Table 5.25, p. 103.
26 Work and Worklessness among Households, Office for National Statistics, London: The Stationery Office (Autumn 2001).
27 Family Resources Survey, Great Britain, 2000–01, Office for National Statistics, London: The Stationery Office (May 2002).
28 Hope, S., Power, C., Rodgers, B. (1999), ‘Does financial hardship account for elevated psychological distress in lone mothers?’, Social Science and Medicine 49 (12), pp.1637–1649.
29 Cockett, M. and Tripp, J. (1994), The Exeter Family Study: Family Breakdown and Its Impact on Children, Exeter: University of Exeter Press, pp. 14–15.
30 Benzeval, M. (1998), ‘The self-reported health status of lone parents’, Social Science and Medicine 46 (10), pp. 1337–1353.
31 Mortality Statistics: General, Review of the Registrar General on Deaths in England and Wales, 1999, Series DH1 32, Office for National Statistics, London: The Stationery Office (2001).
32 Flood-Page, C., Campbell, S., Harrington, V., and Miller, J. (2000), Youth Crime: Findings from the 1998/99 Youth Lifestyles Survey, London: Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate.
33 Cockett and Tripp (1994), The Exeter Family Study: Family Breakdown and Its Impact on Children, p. 28.
34 Burghes, L., Clarke, L., and Cronin, N. (1997), Fathers and Fatherhood in Britain, London: Family Policy Studies Centre, pp. 65–67.
35 Mortality Statistics: General, Review of the Registrar General on Deaths in England and Wales, 1999, Series DH1 32, Office for National Statistics (2001).
36 Power, C., Rodgers, B., and Hope, S. (1999), ‘Heavy alcohol consumption and marital status: disentangling the relationship in a national study of young adults’, Addiction 94 (10), pp. 1477–1487.
37 Umberson, D. (1987), ‘Family status and health behaviors: Social control as a dimension of social integration’, Journal of Health and Social Behavior 28, pp. 306–319.
38 Wellings, K., Field, J., Johnson, A. M., Wadsworth, J. (1994), Sexual Behaviour in Britain, London: Penguin, p. 363.
39 Households Below Average Income 1994/95-2000/01, Department for Work and Pensions (2002), p. 50.
40 Gaulthier, A. H. (1999), ‘Inequalities in children’s environment: The case of Britain’, Childhood 6 (2), pp. 243–260.
41 Cockett and Tripp (1994), The Exeter Family Study: Family Breakdown and Its Impact on Children, p. 31.
42 Cockett and Tripp (1994), The Exeter Family Study: Family Breakdown and Its Impact on Children, p. 19.
43 Meltzer, H., et al. (2000), Mental Health of Children and Adolescents in Great Britain, London: The Stationery Office.
44 Hetherington, M. (2002), For Better or Worse: Divorce Reconsidered, New York: W. W. Norton.
45 Elliott, J. and Richards, M. (1985), ‘Parental divorce and the life chances of children’, Family Law, 1991, pp. 481–484; and Wadsworth, J., Burnell, I., Taylor, B., and Butler, N. (1985), ‘The influence of family type on children’s behaviour and development at five years’, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 26, pp. 245–254.
46 Cockett and Tripp (1994), The Exeter Family Study: Family Breakdown and Its Impact on Children, pp 24–25.
47 Cockett and Tripp (1994), The Exeter Family Study: Family Breakdown and Its Impact on Children, p. 27.
48 Ferri, E. (1984), Step Children: A National Study, Windsor: NFER-Nelson; and Wadsworth, Burnell, Taylor and Butler (1985) ‘The influence of family type on children’s behaviour and development at five years’, pp. 245–254.
49 Whitehead, L.(1979), ‘Sex differences in children’s responses to family stress: A re-evaluation’ Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 20, pp. 247–254.
50 Mauldon, J. (1990), ‘The effects of marital disruption on children’s health’, Demography 27, pp. 431–46.
51 Mortality Statistics: Childhood, Infant and Perinatal, Review of the Registrar General on Deaths in England and Wales, 2000, Series DH3 33, Office for National Statistics (2002).
52 Cockett and Tripp (1994), The Exeter Family Study: Family Breakdown and Its Impact on Children, p. 21.
53 Cawson, P. (2002), Child Maltreatment in the Family, London: NSPCC.
54 For example, see Strang, H. (1996), ‘Children as victims of homicide’, Trends and Issues in Criminal Justice 53, Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology.
55 Daly, M. and Wilson, M. (1988), Homicide, New York: Aldine de Gruyter.
56Gordon, M. and Creighton, S. (1988), ‘Natal and nonnatal fathers as sexual abusers in the United Kingdom: A Comparative Analysis’, Journal of Marriage and the Family 50, pp. 99–105.
57 Whelan, R. (1994), Broken Homes and Battered Children, Oxford: Family Education Trust.
58 Rees, G. and Rutherford, C. (2001), Home Run: Families and Young Runaways, London: The Children’s Society.
59 Wellings, K., Nanchanahal, K., MacDowall, W., et al. (2001), ‘Sexual behaviour in Britain: Early heterosexual experience’, The Lancet 358, pp. 1843–50. Analysis of first intercourse before age 16 included all respondents aged 16–24 years. Analysis of incidence of STIs included respondents aged 16–24 years who had had heterosexual intercourse before age 18. All other analyses included respondents aged 16–24 years who had had heterosexual intercourse by age 24.
60 Kiernan, K. (September 1997), ‘The legacy of parental divorce: Social, economic and family experiences in adulthood’, London: Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics, pp 26–27.
61 Youth Survey 2001: Research Study Conducted for the Youth Justice Board (January–March 2001), www.youth-justice-board.gov.uk/policy/YJBREP _published_report_2001.pdf, p. 9.
62 Flood-Page, Campbell, Harrington and Miller (2000), Youth Crime: Findings from the 1998/99 Youth Lifestyles Survey.
63 Lyon, J., Dennison, C., and Wilson, A. (2000), ‘Tell Them So They Listen’: Messages from Young People in Custody, London: Home Office, p. 8.
64 Lyon, Dennison and Wilson (2000), ‘Tell Them So They Listen’: Messages from Young People in Custody, p. 10.
65 Sweeting, H., West, P., and Richards, M. (1998), ‘Teenage family life, lifestyles and life chances: Associations with family structure, conflict with parents and joint family activity’, International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family 12, pp. 15–46.
66 Ely, M., West, P., Sweeting, H., and Richards, M. (2000), ‘Teenage family life, life chances, lifestyles and health: A comparison of two contemporary cohorts’, International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family 14, pp. 1–30.
67 Sweeting, West and Richards (1998), ‘Teenage Family life, lifestyles and life chances’, pp. 15–46.
68 Ely, West, Sweeting and Richards (2000), ‘Teenage Family Life, Life chances, lifestyles and health’, pp. 1–30.
69 Sweeting, West and Richards (1998), ‘Teenage Family life, lifestyles and life chances’, pp. 15–46.
70 Graham, J. and Bowling, B. (1995), Young People and Crime, London: Home Office, p. 120.
71 Youth Survey 2001: Research Study Conducted for the Youth Justice Board (January–March 2001), www.youth-justice-board.gov.uk/policy/YJBREP _published_report_2001.pdf, p. 7.
72 Ely, West, Sweeting and Richards (2000), ‘Teenage Family Life, Life chances, lifestyles and health’, pp. 1–30.
73 Simons, R.L, Lin, K., Gordon, L.C., Conger, R.D., and Lorenz, F.O. (1999), ‘Explaining the higher incidence of adjustment problems among children of divorce compared with those in two-parent families’, Journal of Marriage and Family 61, pp. 1020–1033.
74 Kiernan (September 1997), ‘The legacy of parental divorce: social, economic and family experiences in adulthood’, p. 11.
75 Ely, West, Sweeting and Richards (2000), ‘Teenage Family Life, Life chances, lifestyles and health’, pp. 1–30; and Ely, M., Richards, M.P.M., Wadsworth, M.E.J., and Elliott, B.J. (1999), ‘Secular changes in the association of parental divorce and children’s educational attainment – evidence from three British birth cohorts’, Journal of Social Policy 28 (3), pp. 437–455.
76 Kiernan (September 1997), ‘The legacy of parental divorce: social, economic and family experiences in adulthood’, p. 16. It is possible that depressed local economic conditions could simultaneously increase the likelihood of lone parenthood as well as the unemployment rate. On a national level, this would establish a statistical association between being brought up in a lone parent household and being subsequently unemployed. To determine whether this is a causal association, it would be necessary to control for local economic conditions.
77 Kiernan (September 1997), ‘The legacy of parental divorce: social, economic and family experiences in adulthood’, pp. 18–19.
78 Kiernan (September 1997), ‘The legacy of parental divorce: social, economic and family experiences in adulthood’, p. 16.
79 Kiernan (September 1997), ‘The legacy of parental divorce: social, economic and family experiences in adulthood’, p. 21.
80 Review 2001/2002: Building on Success, Youth Justice Board, London: The Stationery Office (July 2002).
81 Harper, C. and McLanahan, S. (August 1998), ‘Father absence and youth incarceration’, San Francisco: paper presented at the annual meetings of the American Sociological Association.
82 Hetherington (2002), For Better Or Worse: Divorce Reconsidered.
83 Chase-Lansdale, P. L., Cherlin, A. J., and Kiernan, K. (1995), ‘The long-term effects of parental divorce on the mental health of young adults: A developmental perspective,’ Child Development 66, pp. 1614–34.
84 Wallerstein, J. S. and Blakeslee, S. (1990), Second Chances: Men, Women and Children a Decade After Divorce, New York: Ticknor and Fields; and Wallerstein, J., Lewis, J. and Blakeslee, S. (2002), The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 Year Landmark Study, London: Fusion Press.
85 Lundbert, O. (1993), ‘The impact of childhood living conditions on illness and mortality in adulthood’, Social Science and Medicine 36, pp. 1047–52.
86 Hope, S., Power, C., and Rodgers, B. (1998), ‘The relationship between parental separation in childhood and problem drinking in adulthood’, Addiction 93 (4), pp. 505–514.
87 Wellings, K., Nanchanahal, K., MacDowall, W., et al. (2001), ‘Sexual behaviour in Britain: Early heterosexual experience’, pp. 1843–50.
88 Tucker, J. S., Friedman, H. S., Schwartz, J. E., and Criqui, M. H., et al. (1997), ‘Parental divorce: Effects on individual behavior and longevity’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 73, pp. 381–91.
89 Kiernan (September 1997), ‘The legacy of parental divorce: social, economic and family experiences in adulthood’, p. 23. Note that, according to the 1990/91 National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, the tendency to early partnership occurs indirectly, mainly through the tendency of children of divorce to engage in sexual activity earlier. See Kiernan, K. and Hobcraft, J. (1997), ‘Parental divorce during childhood: Age at first intercourse, partnership and parenthood’, Population Studies 51, pp. 41–55.
90 Kiernan (September 1997), ‘The legacy of parental divorce: social, economic and family experiences in adulthood’, p. 25.
91 Kiernan (September 1997), ‘The legacy of parental divorce: social, economic and family experiences in adulthood’, p. 33.
92 Kiernan (September 1997), ‘The legacy of parental divorce: social, economic and family experiences in adulthood’, pp. 28–30.
93 Reducing Re-Offending by Ex-Prisoners, Social Exclusion Unit (2002).
94 Sampson, R. J. (1987), ‘Urban black violence: The effect of male joblessness and family disruption’, American Journal of Sociology 93, pp. 348–82; and Kellam, S. G., Adams, R. G., Brown, C. H., and Ensminger, M. E. (1982), ‘The long-term evolution of the family structure of teens and older mothers’, Journal of Marriage and the Family 44, pp. 539–54.
95 Gartner, R. (1991), ‘Family structure, welfare spending, and child homicide in developed democracies’, Journal of Marriage and the Family 53, pp. 321–340.
96 Reducing Re-Offending by Ex-Prisoners, Social Exclusion Unit (2002).
97 People’s Perceptions of Their Neighbourhood and Community Involvement: Results from the Social Capital Module of the General Household Survey 2000, Office for National Statistics, London: The Stationery Office (2002).
98 Amato, P. and Rogers, S. (1999), ‘Do attitudes toward divorce affect marital quality?’, Journal of Family Issues 20 (1), pp. 69–86.
99 Haskey, J. (2001), ‘Cohabitation in Great Britain: Past, present and future trends – and attitudes’, Population Trends 103, pp. 4–25.
100 Murray, C. (1990), The Emerging British Underclass, London: The IEA Health and Welfare Unit; Preventing Social Exclusion, London: Social Exclusion Unit (March 2001).
101 Green, D. (1998) Benefit Dependency, London: IEA Health and Welfare Unit; Murray, C. (1996) Charles Murray and the Underclass: The Developing Debate, London: IEA Health and Welfare Unit.
102 Social Trends 32, Office for National Statistics (2002), p. 41, and Green (1998), Benefit Dependency. Dependency here is defined as being in receipt of national assistance, supplementary benefit, income support, unemployment benefit (income-based) or jobseekers allowance (noncontributory). Figures for years beyond 1996 provided by the Department for Work and Pensions, Analytical Services Division correspondence dated 5 August 2002.
103 Mayer, S. (1997), What Money Can’t Buy: Family Income and Children’s Life Chances, Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.
104 McLanahan S. and Sandefur G. D. (1994), Growing Up With a Single Parent: What Hurts, What Helps, London: Harvard University Press, pp. 167–68.
105 Amato, P. (1998), ‘More than money? Men’s contributions to their children’s lives’, in Booth, A., and Crouter, A. (eds.), Men in Families: When Do They Get Involved? What Difference Does It Make?, Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., pp. 241–278.
106 Gottman, J.M., Katz, L.F., and Hooven, C. (1996), Meta-Emotion: How Families Communicate Emotionally, Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum Associates, Inc.; Parke, R.D., and Brott, A.A. (1999), Throwaway Dads: The Myths and Barriers That Keep Men from Being the Fathers They Want to Be, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, pp. 6–7; Koestner, R.S., Franz, C.E., and Weinberger, J. (1990), ‘The family origins of empathic concern: A 26-year longitudinal study’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 61, pp. 586–595; Belsky, J. (1998), ‘Paternal influence and children’s well-being: Limits of, and new directions for, understanding’, in Booth and Crouter (eds.) Men in Families, pp. 279–293.
107 Amato (1998), ‘More than Money? Men’s contributions to their children’s lives’, pp. 241–278.
108 Furstenberg, F. and Kiernan, K. (2001), ‘Delayed parental divorce: How much do children benefit?’, Journal of Marriage and Family 63, pp. 446–457.
109 Cockett and Tripp (1994), The Exeter Family Study: Family Breakdown and Its Impact on Children, pp. 55–58.
110 Booth A. and Amato P. (2001), ‘Parental predivorce relations and offspring postdivorce well-being’, Journal of Marriage and Family 63 (1), pp. 197–212.
111 Waite, L. and Gallagher, M. (2000), The Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier, and Better off Financially, New York: Doubleday.
112 Booth and Amato (2001), ‘Parental predivorce relations and offspring postdivorce well-being’, pp. 197–212.
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