Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Nonmarital Childbearing: the Statistics

Professor Claire Kamp Dush of Ohio State writes of her struggles to publish her research. To quote:
Historic numbers of women in the US are having children outside of marriage; 41% of all births in 2010 were to unmarried parents, with the highest proportions to racial and ethnic minorities (Hamilton, Martin, & Ventura, 2011). More than half of these births were to cohabiting parents (Lichter, 2012), a majority of whom will see their union dissolve by the time their child is 5 years old (Kamp Dush, 2011). Because of the instability of these unions, many mothers are dating and forming new romantic relationships which often result in the birth of a new child, thus a growing number of mothers have children with more than one father (Guzzo & Furstenberg, 2007). Mothers who have children with more than one father experience increased stress and mental health problems and lower parenting quality compared to mothers who share children with only one father (McLanahan, 2009). Children with half-siblings exhibit more depression, poorer school performance, and greater delinquency than children with only full-siblings (Halpern-Meekin & Tach, 2008). Despite negative maternal and child outcomes associated with childbearing with multiple fathers, family process-related factors that influence whether women have additional children with new fathers have yet to be identified. We posit that when a father is involved with his child, regardless of whether or not he lives with his child, the mother of his child will be less likely to have another child with a new father. (Read more.)

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