Family Instability and Children’s Physical Health

Alice Goisis, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
Berkay Ozcan, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
Philippe Van Kerm, CEPS/INSTEAD

Over the last decades, most industrialized countries experienced an increase in marital instability. Changes in family structure generated a wealth of research on the parental separation on children’s wellbeing. This literature largely focused on children’s educational outcomes. Considerably less attention given to the consequences of parental separation on children’s physical health. This is regrettable since parental separation, by changing the resources available in the family, could affect children’s health negatively. In order to address this gap in knowledge, we use data from the U.K. Millennium Cohort Study, which provides information on children’s BMI, height and obesity at 3, 5, 7 and 11 years of age. By exploiting the longitudinal nature of the MCS, we use a fixed effects regression model to control for time-invariant family (and child) characteristics. Our contribution also involves analysing the process of separation more carefully by comparing the short and medium terms effects of parental separation and by considering the pre-separation period

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Presented in Session 80: Child Health