CFRP director and LBJ professor Dr. Cynthia Osborne and her colleague Dr. Paula Fomby recent published Family Instability, Multipartner Fertility, and Behavior in Middle Childhood in the Journal of Marriage and Family addressing the complexities of family structure, specifically related to family instability, multipartner fertility, and child wellbeing.
Dr. Osborne is expert in social policy, poverty and inequality, family and child wellbeing, and family demography issues. For more on her work on family instability, click here.
The full paper is available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jomf.12349/full.
Two concepts capture the dynamic and complex nature of contemporary family structure: family instability and multipartner fertility. Although these circumstances are likely to co-occur, their respective literatures have proceeded largely independently. The authors used data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a longitudinal birth cohort study including nearly 5,000 children born between 1998 and 2000 in hospitals in 20 U.S. cities, to consider these dimensions of dynamic family structure together, asking whether they independently predict children’s behavior problems at age 9. Frequent family instability was consistently predictive of higher predicted levels of behavior problems for children born to mothers who were unmarried, an association largely attenuated by factors related to family stress. Multipartner fertility was robustly related to self-reported delinquency and teacher-reported behavior problems among children born to mothers who were married.