Children who grow up with only one parent are more likely to experience emotional and behavioural difficulties, a new study suggests.
This week the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in Ireland published an analysis of data gathered on 18,000 of the country’s children over a ten year span. The research was conducted in order to identify the driving factors behind inequality among Irish children.
The authors found that children of one-parent families had a higher risk of behavioural and other problems. This was found to be the case even once “differences in family characteristics such as income, maternal education, parent-child conflict and maternal depression” had been taken into account.
Co-editor James Williams is a Research Professor at the ESRI. He said that Ireland had “undoubtedly made huge strides in terms of how we think about and treat children” over the last century. However, even with the progress made in that time, inequality is still a very real problem he continued. The ESRI research shows that “children’s future prospects continue to be shaped by family circumstances” said Williams, adding that any measures to tackle inequality “must be cognisant of the powerful impact of the home environment on child wellbeing and development”.
These results support those of an American study carried out in 2014. Then the Massachusetts Family Institute suggested that children of single parent households were more likely to struggle in school, experience violence and live in poverty than those who grew up with two parents.
The study is titled Cherishing All the Children Equally? Children in Ireland 100 Years on from the Easter Rising. It is available in full here.