The Impact of Parental Marital Disruption on Children’s Performance in School

Christopher C. Weiss, Columbia University
Deirdre Bloome, Harvard University
Kathleen Foley, University of Pennsylvania

Although it is well-documented that children from divorced or single-parent families perform more poorly in school than children from stable, two-parent families, less is known about how the timing of divorce is linked to declines in school performance. In this paper, we examine the temporal link between parents’ marital dissolution and the odds that a child is retained a grade in school using the Baltimore Parenthood Study, a thirty-year longitudinal study that has tracked the lives of inner-city families. Using logistic regression and hazard analysis, we show that the odds that a child is held back in school increase dramatically around the time of marital termination, including the pre-separation turmoil period and the post-separation crisis period.

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Presented in Session 85: Family Structure and Child Well-Being