Parental relationships and child well-being

Kathleen E. Kiernan, University of York
Michael Lamb

This study will use the UK Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), a sample of 18000 children born in 2001-2 whose parents were interviewed when their baby was 9 months old and again when the child was 3 years old to examine the life experiences of parents and children who are residentially “separated”. The main focus will be on two groups of children: those whose parents never lived together and those whose parents were married or cohabiting and subsequently separated. In the MCS sample sixty per cent of babies were born to married parents, 25 per cent to cohabiting parents and 15 per cent to parents who were not living together at the time the time of the birth. Little is known about the lives of this latter group of parents and children. This paper will provide new information on and insights into this new family form and on the extent to which these families differ from those with more conventionally separated parents. The sample design of the MCS allowed for over-representation of families living in areas with high rates of child poverty and with high proportions of ethnic minorities so we will be able to examine these issues in more detail than has been possible hitherto.

Presented in Session 21: Parenting and child-care