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Study shows children with one parent just as happy as those with two

A recent study provides evidence that children living with one parent are as happy as those living with two parents – findings that are likely to provide relief to those individuals considering sole support parenthood.

The study was conducted in the UK by researchers from NatCen Social Research and was recently presented at the British Sociological Association’s annual conference. The researchers examined the wellbeing of 12,877 children who took part in the Millenium Cohort Study and were age seven in 2008. The study found that there were no significant differences in the children’s self-reported happiness levels. Whether the children lived with two biological parents, with a step-parent and biological parent, or in a single parent family, made no difference: 64% said they were happy ‘sometimes or never’, and 36% said they were ‘happy all the time’. Even after removing effects of other factors such as social class, there were no statistical differences in happiness between children living in one or two parent families.

This finding is similar to a previous study conducted by NatCen Social Research on 2,679 children aged 11 to 15 in the UK. Jenny Chanfreah, senior researcher at NatCen said of the findings:

“We found that the family type had no significant effect on the happiness of the seven-year-olds or the 11-15 year olds…It’s the quality of the relationships in the home that matters – not the family composition. 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 all the time among seven-year olds”

Read more about sole support parenthood here and here. 

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