Living with two biological parents is the least risky environment for children, a recently published study has claimed.
Published by the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the study looked at data on a sample of 100,000 households across the US. The researchers focused on nine specific negative experiences – namely divorce or separation; incarceration of a parent or guardian; living with someone suffering from mental illness; living with someone who has a drug or alcohol problem; witnessing domestic violence; racial discrimination; and a parent or guardian who struggles to make enough money.
Children are significantly more likely to experience such events, the researchers found, when they live with only one or neither of their biological parents. Children living with neither parent were 2.7 times more likely to experience at least one of the nine events, and as many as 30 times more likely to experience four or more such events than children living with both biological parents.
A substantial 70 per cent of children living with both biological parents had experienced none of the events, compared to just 20 per cent of children with only one or neither of their biological parents in their home.
According to the study, children living in foster care had the worst outcomes, with almost half experiencing four or more of the nine negative events.
The researchers say: “The cumulative effect of multiple traumas can be serious; research has shown that the more adverse experiences suffered, the higher the risk of serious health conditions or negative health outcomes.”
The study is reported to be the first compare biological and non-biological parents, rather than those in different types of relationship.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the national public institute of the United States.