Demography

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 569–584 | Cite as

Effects of child health on parents’ relationship status

  • Nancy E. Reichman
  • Hope Corman
  • Kelly Noonan
Article

Abstract

We used data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to estimate the effect of a child’s poor health on the presence of the father. We investigated whether parents lived in the same household 12–18 months after the child’s birth and whether their relationships changed along a continuum (married, cohabiting, romantically involved, friends, or not involved) during the same period. We found that within this short period, having a child with poor health decreased the probability that the parents lived together by 10 percentage points. It also increased the probability that their relationship status moved in the direction of less involvement by 6 percentage points. These results indicate that children’s health and family structure jointly shape children’s long-term health and economic trajectories.

Keywords

Health Shock Nonmarital Birth Fragile Family Abortion Provider Robert Wood Johnson Medical School 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Altonji, J.G., T.E. Elder, and C.R. Taber. 2000. “Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools.” Working Paper 7831. National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  2. Becker, G.S. 1973. “A Theory of Marriage: Part I.” Journal of Political Economy 81:813–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. —. 1974. “A Theory of Marriage: Part II.” Journal of Political Economy 82:S11-S26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bumpass, L. and H.H. Lu. 2000. “Trends in Cohabitation and Implications for Children’s Family Contexts in the United States.” Population Studies 54:29–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bumpass, L. and R.K. Raley. 1995. “Redefining Single-Parent Families: Cohabitation and Changing Family Reality.” Demography 32:97–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Carlson, M., S.S. McLanahan, and P. England. 2004. “Union Formation in Fragile Families.” Demography 41:237–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Case, A., D. Lubotsky, and C. Paxson. 2002. “Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient.” American Economic Review 92:1308–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Corman, H. and R. Kaestner. 1992. “The Effects of Child Health on Marital Status and Family Structure.” Demography 29:389–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Currie, J. and M. Stabile. 2003. “Socioeconomic Status and Health: Why Is the Relationship Stronger for Older Children?” American Economic Review 93:1813–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Goldenberg, R.L., S.P. Cliver, Y. Neggers, R.L. Copper, M.D. DuBard, R.O. Davis, and H.J. Hoffman. 1997. “The Relationship Between Maternal Characteristics and Fetal and Neonatal Anthropometric Measurements in Women Delivering at Term: A Summary.” Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavia With Supplements 165:8–13.Google Scholar
  11. Graefe, D.R. and D. Lichter. 1999. “Life Course Transitions of American Children: Parental Cohabitation, Marriage, and Single Motherhood.” Demography 36:205–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Grossman, M. and T. Joyce. 1990. “Unobservables, Pregnancy Resolutions, and Birthweight Production Functions in New York City.” Journal of Political Economy 98:983–1007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hack, M., N.K. Klein, and G. Taylor. 1995. “Long-Term Developmental Outcomes of Low Birth Weight Infants.” The Future of Children 5:176–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Joesch, J.M. and K.R. Smith. 1997. “Children’s Health and Their Mothers’ Risk of Divorce or Separation.” Social Biology 44(3–4):159–69.Google Scholar
  15. Lundberg, S. and E. Rose. 2003. “Child Gender and the Transition to Marriage.” Demography 40:333–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Martin, J., B. Hamilton, S. Ventura, F. Menacker, and M. Park. 2002. Births: Final Data for 2000. National Vital Statistics Reports 50(5). Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.Google Scholar
  17. Mauldon, J. 1992. “Children’s Risks of Experiencing Divorce and Remarriage: Do Disabled Children Destabilize Marriages?” Population Studies 46:349–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. McLanahan, S., I. Garfinkel, N.E. Reichman, J. Teitler, M. Carlson, and C. Audigier. 2001. “The Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study: National Baseline Report.” Revised March 2003. Available on-line at http://crcw.princeton.edu/nationalreport.asp McLanahan, S.S. and G.D. Sandefur. 1994. Growing Up With a Single Parent. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  19. McLanahan, S.S. and J.O. Teitler. 1999. “The Consequences of Father Absence.” Pp. 83–102 in Parenting and Child Development in Nontraditional Families, edited by M. Lamb. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  20. National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. 2003. “Child Development— Infants (0–1 Year Old).” Available on-line at http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/child/infants.htmGoogle Scholar
  21. Proctor, B. and J. Dalaker. 2003. “Poverty in the United States: 2002.” U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, Series P60, No. 222. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  22. Reichman, N.E., H. Corman, and K. Noonan. 2003a. “Effects of Child Health on Parents’ Relationship Status.” Working Paper 03-21-FF. Center for Research on Child Wellbeing, Princeton, NJ.Google Scholar
  23. —. 2003b. “Effects of Child Health on Parents’ Relationship Status.” Working Paper 9610. National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  24. Reichman, N.E., J.O. Teitler, I. Garfinkel, and S.S. McLanahan. 2001. “Fragile Families: Sample and Design.” Children and Youth Services Review 23(4–5):303–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Seltzer, J.A. 1994. “Consequences of Marital Dissolution for Children.” Annual Review of Sociology 20:235–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Willis, R.J. 1999. “A Theory of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing.” Journal of Political Economy 107(6):S33–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy E. Reichman
    • 1
  • Hope Corman
    • 2
  • Kelly Noonan
    • 2
  1. 1.Robert Wood Johnson Medical SchoolUSA
  2. 2.Rider University and National Bureau of Economic ResearchUSA

Personalised recommendations