A prospective study of the effects of marital status and family relations on young children's adjustment among African American and European American families

Daniel S. Shaw, Emily B. Winslow, Clare Flanagan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

66 Scopus citations


The present study investigated the effects of divorce and family relations on young children's development prospectively, using an ethnically diverse sample of approximately 300 low-income families. We also were able to examine the moderating effects of ethnicity on child adjustment in always two-parent, to-be-divorced, already-divorced, and always single-parent families. Results indicated that to-be-divorced European American and African American families demonstrated higher rates of preschool-age behavior problems, and already-divorced families showed similar trends. Parental conflict and behavior problems accounted for predivorce differences in child behavior problems, whereas rejecting parenting accounted for differences in problem behavior between always single-parent and always two-parent families. The results are discussed in terms of the importance of ethnicity in influencing young, low-income children's adjustment to different family structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)742-755
Number of pages14
JournalChild development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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