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Scand J Public Health. 2016 Mar;44(2):177-83. doi: 10.1177/1403494815614463. Epub 2015 Nov 9.

Psychological complaints among children in joint physical custody and other family types: Considering parental factors.

Author information

1
Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS), Stockholm University & Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden emma.fransson@ki.se.
2
Department of Sociology, Demography unit, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
3
Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS), Stockholm University & Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden Clinical Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
4
Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS), Stockholm University & Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

Abstract

AIMS:

Increasing proportions of Scandinavian children and children in other Western countries live in joint physical custody, moving between parents' homes when parents live apart. Children and parents in non-intact families are at risk of worse mental health. The potential influence of parental ill-health on child well-being in the context of differing living arrangements has not been studied thoroughly. This study investigates the psychological complaints of children in joint physical custody in comparison to children in sole parental care and nuclear families, while controlling for socioeconomic differences and parental ill-health.

METHODS:

Data were obtained from Statistics Sweden's yearly Survey of Living Conditions 2007-2011 and child supplements with children 10-18 years, living in households of adult participants. Children in joint physical custody (n=391) were compared with children in sole parental care (n=654) and children in nuclear families (n=3,639), using a scale of psychological complaints as the outcome measure.

RESULTS:

Multiple regression modelling showed that children in joint physical custody did not report higher levels of psychological complaints than those in nuclear families, while children in sole parental care reported elevated levels of complaints compared with those in joint physical custody. Adding socioeconomic variables and parental ill-health only marginally attenuated the coefficients for the living arrangement groups. Low parental education and parental worry/anxiety were however associated with higher levels of psychological complaints.

CONCLUSIONS:

Psychological complaints were lower among adolescents in joint physical custody than in adolescents in sole parental care. The difference was not explained by parental ill-health or socioeconomic variables.

KEYWORDS:

Divorce; child custody; family types; mental health; parenting; shared residence; socioeconomic factors

PMID:
26553250
PMCID:
PMC4735678
DOI:
10.1177/1403494815614463
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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