Single Parenthood and Children’s Reading Performance in Asia

Authors

  • Hyunjoon Park

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Pennsylvania
      Department of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, 3718 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (hypark@sas.upenn.edu).
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Department of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, 3718 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (hypark@sas.upenn.edu).

Abstract

Using the data from Program for International Student Assessment, I examine the gap in reading performance between 15-year-old students in single-parent and intact families in 5 Asian countries in comparison to the United States. The ordinary least square regression analyses show negligible disadvantages of students with a single parent in Hong Kong and Korea, once students’ demographic characteristics and socioeconomic background are held constant. Students in single-parent families in Indonesia and Thailand outperform their peers in intact families. The negative effect of single parenthood remains significant in Japan, even after parent-child communication is controlled. Interpreting the weak effect of single parenthood in the Asian countries, I consider extended family systems and the relatively high proportion of widowhood among causes of single parenthood.

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