Children whose parents share care and residence are happier than the offspring of single parents, Swedish researchers have claimed.
In a study with the wordy title Psychological complaints among children in joint physical custody and other family types: Considering parental factors, researchers from Stockholm University and the nearby Karolinska Institutet examined demographic data relating to 4,684 children living in Sweden. The youngsters were divided into three categories: those living with both parents in a shared residence arrangement; those living with a single parent; and those living within intact ‘nuclear’ families.
In order to assess their mental wellbeing, the subjects were polled on their emotional states in situations involving their parents : did they feel angry, nervous, tense, sad? Did they sometimes struggle to concentrate?
The team found no meaningful difference in the emotional wellbeing of children who divided their time between parents in a shared care arrangement and those who lived in conventional two parent families. But those who lived with single parents did display a higher level of “psychological complaints”. The financial status of the various families and the health of the parents were both taken into account when assessing the results.
The researchers concluded:
“Psychological complaints were lower among adolescents in joint physical custody than in adolescents in sole parental care. The difference was not explained by parental ill-health or socioeconomic variables.”
The research was published in the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health.
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