Adolescent emotional well-being in Swedish stepfamilies

Jani Turunen, Stockholm University

This paper studies child well-being in Swedish stepfamilies. Based on high quality self-reported data collected from Swedish adolescents aged 10 to 18 it focuses on their experience of psychological and psycho-somatic problems. Children in stepfamiles are compared with children in both biological two-parent families and single parent households. The results show that the increased risk of psychological and pyscho-somatic complaints in single parent families can mainly be explained by economic deprivation whereas it in stepparent families to a larger extent is due parenting behaviour. Some of the increased risk remains due to unobserved characteristics but controlling for parents' socio-economic status and other parental characteristics like drinking behaviour, health status or employment status do not help to explain this. The paper is based on cross-sectional survey data from the child supplements to the Swedish Level of Living survey from 2000 and the Survey of Living Conditions from 2001-2003. These are self reported data from children aged 10-18 years.

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Presented in Session 4: Dynamics of remarriage and stepfamilies