How parental divorce affects children´s socioeconomic outcomes

Anna Garriga, Universitat Pompeu Fabra and University of York

Literature has proved that parental divorce has a strong negative effect on children’s socioeconomic outcomes. Previous research has showed that family income and quality of parenting after divorce explains a substantial part of the effect of parental divorce on children’s socioeconomic outcomes. However, another possible mediator of the association between parental divorce and children’s socioeconomic outcomes is children’s psychological well-being. Although, several studies show that after parental divorce there is a decline of children’s emotional well-being, none study takes into account child psychological well-being as a mediating variable of the effect of parental divorce on children’s socioeconomic outcomes. In fact, few surveys provide information of child psychological well-being before and after parental divorce. British Cohort Study 1970 gives an unique opportunity to test whether children’s psychological well-being after divorce mediates the effect of parental divorce on children’s socioeconomic outcomes.

Moreover, past research has focused only on one explanation at the time. I argue that it is necessary to include all mediating factors in the same analysis since when all mechanisms are taken into account some of them may turn to be spurious or indirect through the other factors. Therefore, this article seeks to extend previous literature, using Structural Equation Models, to examine in the same analysis whether, family income, quality of parenting and child psychological well-being after divorce explain part of the effect of the parental divorce on children’s socioeconomic outcomes.

Presented in Session 82: The linked lives of parents and children