Family trajectories and child well-being in the early years of childhood

Kathleen E. Kiernan, University of York
Fiona Mensah, University of York

Data from the UK Millennium Cohort Study which has followed over 18000 children born in 2001 is used to examine the potential consequences for children of being born into different family settings and whether subsequent family trajectories matter. Firstly, we map the family trajectories of children born into four different settings: to married parents, cohabiting parents and to solo mothers who were and were not in a relationship with the father at the time of the birth. The subsequent partnership behaviour of these parents over the first five years of the child’s life provides a handle on the extent to which there is stability and change in the lives of the children. Secondly, we identify how families with differing histories vary across a range of social, economic, emotional and health domains. Thirdly, we analyse how children with differing family histories are faring with respect to their emotional development as assessed at age 5 years.

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Presented in Session 18: The impact of union dynamics on child wellbeing