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Parental Relationship Quality and Child Outcomes Across Subgroups.

Publication Year: 
Personal Author: 
Moore, Kristin A.
Kinghorn, Andrea.
Bandy, Tawana.
Corporate Author: 
Child Trends.
Briefing Materials
Page Count: 

Numerous studies have found links between the quality of the parents' relationship and positive outcomes for children and families. Yet very little research has examined whether this association holds across various population subgroups, especially among disadvantaged groups. Is the quality of the parents' relationship really associated with outcomes for children of low-income couples? For ethnic minority couples? For unmarried couples? To address this issue, Child Trends analyzed data from the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health. Analyses focus on more than 64,000 respondents whose children were between the ages of six and 17. Results indicate that the parents' relationship quality is very consistently and positively associated with a range of child and family outcomes, including: child behavior problems (externalizing), child social competence, child school engagement, child internalizing (depression), parent-child communication, and parental feelings of aggravation. This association holds across varied subgroups, including: white, black and Hispanic couples; married and cohabiting couples; lower and higher income families; boys and girls, teens and younger children, immigrants and non-immigrants; and parents with post-secondary education, a high school education, and less than a high school education. In addition, the association holds in all but one comparison when social and economic differences are taken into account. (Author abstract)

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