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Soc Sci Med. 1988;27(2):181-6.

The single parent family and the child's mental health.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Oulu, Finland.


The prevalence of psychiatric and psychosomatic disorders in a 1 year birth cohort from northern Finland followed up until 19 years was examined on the basis of hospital records and national registers for subsidies for chronically sick children. Psychiatric disorders were found to occur with higher frequency in children of single parent families, especially those lacking a father during the child's whole life. Childhood enuresis was most frequent in the children who had experienced the divorce of their parents. Discriminant function analysis was used to establish the explanatory value of the family constellation for both psychiatric disorders and enuresis. The other significant explanatory variables for psychiatric disorders were school performance, place of residence and the child's height at 1 year of age, with poor school performance, high population density and short stature increasing the risk. The other significant variables increasing the risk of enuresis were psychiatric disorders, poor school performance, juvenile smoking and small size of dwelling. Disabled children had psychiatric disorders 9 times as frequently as non-disabled ones.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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