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Soc Sci Res. 2009 Sep;38(3):622-34.

Parental divorce, sibship size, family resources, and children's academic performance.

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  • 1Department of Sociology, The Ohio State University-Mansfield, Mansfield, OH 44906, USA.


Using data from 19,839 adolescents from the National Education Longitudinal Study, this study investigates whether the effects of parental divorce on adolescents' academic test performance vary by sibship size. Analyses show that the negative effect of divorce on adolescent performance attenuates as sibship size increases. On the other side of the interaction, the inverse relationship between sibship size and test performance is weaker in disrupted than in two-biological-parent families. Trends of such interactions are evident when sibship size is examined either as a continuous or a categorical measure. Finally, the observed interactions on adolescents' academic performance are completely explained by variations in parental financial, human, cultural, and social resources. In sum, this study underlines the importance of treating the effect of parental divorce as a variable and calls for more research to identify child and family features that may change the magnitude of such an effect.

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