Cohabiting Families

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There were overwhelming reviews of many studies that indicated that children living among a cohabited family structure exhibited a multitude of issues; however, there seems to be a discrepancy when a cohabited structure existed, but the parents are the biological parents. Given this type of environment, some studies suggest there is no negative impact on the child’s wellbeing and is considered to be very similar to a traditional home structure while other studies suggest just the opposite. Although many children are born to cohabiting parents, the most common cohabiting arrangement is a biological mother and a male partner (Manning, 2015). Studies indicate that children who live in this type of cohabiting family tend to fare worse with respect to behavioral problems and school engagement, depression, and have higher crime rates (Apel, & Kaukinen, 2008). This family type is viewed as having a high negative impact on children because of instability, economic strain, loss of security, and higher abuse rates. There seems to also be a correlation between the age of the child and the effects of cohabitation. Younger children need to have a good foundation of nurturing and stability in order for them to avoid long-term health effects and emotional issues.

Single Parent Families. The overall research studies indicate that single parent families had very similar outcomes as cohabiting families. One study used a survey to analyze the correlation between children that live with two biological parents as opposed to one parent, whether married or cohabiting. This study indicated poor monitoring, economic issues, stress, lack of father involvement, parent behavior and lack of affection have significant consequences in the overall wellbeing of children, particularly ones that don’t live with both biological parents (Apel, & Kaukinen, 2008).

Several statistics from different articles, were all consistent with the association of depression and single parent households. One explanation may relate to the lack of attention and parental guidance as single parents are solely responsible for their child’s physical and emotional wellbeing and may not have the time to attend to their basic needs (Hakko et al., 2016). Having to adjust to schedules, and the lack of seeing one biological parent for a given amount of time also contributes to emotional instability in children. If there is also a variable change with time and money, especially in single parent households, this can lead to regression among the family dynamic.

Blended and Step Families. Datasets and other studies were used to analyze the correlation between family type and a child’s education and mental health. Multiple studies suggest a correlation between lower test scores, and a decrease in educational outcomes among blended and step families as well as an increase in mental disorders. There are also indications that educational outcomes for both types of children in blended families -- stepchildren and their half-siblings who are the joint biological children of both parents -- are similar to each other and have substantially worse outcomes than children in traditional nuclear families (Ginther & Pollak, 2004). Blended and step families tend to exhibit more stress, especially in the beginning, as they are still trying to define roles and parent as a team; therefore, stress, income, transitions, time, and money seem to have an impact on education, testing, and the emotional wellbeing of children involved. This can be challenging for children as they not only have to accept a new parent with new rules, but possibly other siblings as well. Some studies suggest a direct correlation between these family types and mental health, emotional wellbeing and educational success; however, there are discrepancies for a true correlation as there can be multiple variables outside this analysis that can cause regression, such as, the death of a parent or the divorce of parents (Laukkanen, Hakko, Riipinen, & Riala, 2016).

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Cohabiting Families. (2022, Apr 11). Retrieved July 13, 2024 , from

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