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The influence of parental divorce, parental temporary separation and parental relationship quality on children’s school readiness

Garriga, Anna and Pennoni, Fulvia (2017): The influence of parental divorce, parental temporary separation and parental relationship quality on children’s school readiness.

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Abstract

We use the first three waves of the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), a longitudinal and representative UK survey, to explore the interrelationship between parental divorce, parental temporary separation and parental relationship quality on cognitive abilities and psychological dimensions of the children at age five. By using an appropriate imputation method, we apply the augmented inverse propensity weighted estimator to test the hypothesis that parental divorce may be a positive experience for children with parents in high-distress unions, while the dissolution of low-distress unions may have a negative effect. Overcoming some of the limitations of previous research, we find that that the dissolution of high-quality parental unions has the most harmful effects on children, especially concerning conduct problems. We also find that children who experienced parental temporary separation - which has been absent in most previous research - have more conduct and hyperactivity problems than children from stable or divorced families.

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