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03-11-2021 | Original Paper Open Access

Family Structure Transitions: Prevalence and Physical Health Effects in Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Vietnam

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies
Auteurs:
Rebecca Oldroyd, Shazia Rahman, Laurie F. DeRose, Kristin Hadfield
Belangrijke opmerkingen
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Abstract

This study aimed to identify the prevalence and physical health consequences of family structure transitions among children in Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Vietnam. In many high-income countries, family structure transitions are common, and research suggests that they can lead to worse physical health for children. However, we know little about either the prevalence or consequences of family structure transitions for children in low-and middle-income countries, who make up the vast majority of the world’s children. First, we estimated the number of family structure transitions by age 12 using four rounds of Young Lives data from four low-and middle-income countries (N = 8062, Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Vietnam) and validated our prevalence estimates with another dataset from these same countries. The proportion of children experiencing a family structure transition by age 12 was: 14.8% in Ethiopia, 5.6% in India, 22.0% in Peru, and 7.7% in Vietnam. We put these estimates in context by comparing them to 17 high- and upper-middle-income countries. Second, using linear mixed models, we found that family structure transitions were not directly associated with worse physical health for children in Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Vietnam. Children in Peru experienced higher rates of family structure transitions relative to children in the other Young Lives countries, and similar rates to many of the 17 comparison countries, yet physical health was unaffected. It is possible that in low-and middle-income countries, the environment may overwhelm family stability as a determinant of physical health.

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