Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 474–487 | Cite as

Effects of Parental Divorce on Teenage Children’s Risk Behaviors: Incidence and Persistence

  • Geir Wæhler Gustavsen
  • Rodolfo M. NaygaJr.
  • Ximing Wu
Original Paper


It is generally difficult to separate the effects of divorce from selection when analyzing the effects of parental divorce on children’s risk behaviors. We used propensity score matching and longitudinal data methods to estimate the effects of parents’ divorce on their children’s binge drinking, alcohol consumption, tobacco use, marijuana use, and hard drug use. The children were between 12 and 18 years old in the first survey and between 18 and 24 years old in the second survey. Our results suggest that parental divorce significantly increased the probability of risk behaviors in their children. Moreover, many of these adverse impacts persisted over time, especially among teenage girls.


Divorce Children’s outcome Propensity score Random effects probit 



The Research Council of Norway, Grants 190306/I10 and 233800/E50, provided financial support for this research. This research uses data from Add Health, a program project designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris, and funded by a grant P01-HD31921 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 17 other agencies. Special acknowledgment is due Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Persons interested in obtaining data files from Add Health should contact Add Health, Carolina Population Center, 123 W. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516-2524 (


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geir Wæhler Gustavsen
    • 1
  • Rodolfo M. NaygaJr.
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Ximing Wu
    • 3
  1. 1.Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy ResearchÅsNorway
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural Economics & AgribusinessUniversity of ArkansasFayettevilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Agricultural EconomicsTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  4. 4.Korea UniversitySeoulSouth Korea

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