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Family Structure and Children's Behavioral and Cognitive Outcomes



We used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to examine the effect of various family structures on behavioral and cognitive outcomes for children aged 7 to 10. We extended previous research by using a longitudinal definition of family structure and by exploring multiple mechanisms through which family structure may affect children in 2 outcome domains. We found that family income, mother's psychological functioning, and the quality of the home environment are particularly important for children's behavior, whereas family income and mother's aptitude have notable effects on children's cognitive test scores.