Editorials

What happens to the children of single parent families?

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.308.6937.1114 (Published 30 April 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:1114
  1. Louie Burghes

    Limited research suggests that socioeconomic circumstances are important

    The wellbeing of children growing up in single parent families has long attracted concern. There are fears that they may fare less well physically, psychologically, economically, and socially than children from intact, two parent families. Some of these children from lone parent families will have parents who have separated or divorced. Others will have suffered the death of a parent. Some may well have only ever lived with one parent.

    Children living with their single, never married mothers have become the focus of recent anxiety, perhaps because this group of mothers has been the fastest growing group of lone parents.1 At the most recent count (1991) a third of lone parents, caring for more than two million children, were single, never married mothers. Some of these mothers, however, may at some time have lived with the fathers of their children.

    Some early research looked at children born “illegitimate,” but until recently research concentrated on …

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