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Child Dev. 1985 Apr;56(2):326-41.

Single parents, extended households, and the control of adolescents.


This paper uses a representative national sample of adolescents to study the interrelationships among family structure, patterns of family decision making, and deviant behavior among adolescents. Mother-only households are shown to be associated with particular patterns of family decision making and adolescent deviance, even when family income and parental education are controlled. In contrast to adolescents in households with 2 natural parents, youth in mother-only households are perceived as more likely to make decisions without direct parental input and more likely to exhibit deviant behavior. The presence of an additional adult in a mother-only household, especially for males, is associated with increased parental control and a reduction in various forms of adolescent deviance. Finally, patterns of family decision making and family structure both make independent contributions to adolescent deviance, and the impact of family structure on deviance of adolescent males is hardly affected by controlling for patterns of family decision making.

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