Wellbeing of children not negatively affected by being in a single parent family

Posted 2 January 2019

A new study conducted by Gingerbread and the University of Sheffield has found that children’s wellbeing is not negatively affected by living in single parent households.

The report looks at the wellbeing of more than 27,800 households with children, understood as ‘life satisfaction,’ ‘feelings about their family’ and ‘the quality of relationships with peers.’ The report finds no evidence that children who are living or have lived in a single parent household have a lower measure of wellbeing than those who have always lived in two parent families, scoring as highly or higher against those measures of wellbeing.

The report also found that single parenthood is more common than typically reported. While the proportion of single parents over time has remained relatively stable at 1 in 4 families at any given moment in time, over the course of the six years the study captured, around 1 in 3 families will have been a single parent family at one point over that time period.

Rosie Ferguson, Gingerbread’s Chief Executive, comments: “Our report with the University of Sheffield debunks myths about single parent households and significantly, it shows that children are not negatively impacted if raised by a lone parent. What is most important to a child’s wellbeing is the presence of positive relationships. We urge policymakers and researchers alike to do more to challenge popular stereotypes and reflect the dynamism of family life.”

You can read the full report on the University of Sheffield’s website. This study was carried out as part of the University of Sheffield’s Crook Public Service Fellowship scheme.

Read the report

3 comments on “Wellbeing of children not negatively affected by being in a single parent family

  1. I have been officially a single parent since 2017, I do sometimes feel concerned at the fact that my child receives no emotional support or regular interaction with her other parent. Although, I truly believe that keeping positive, caring and consistent relatives and friends around my child’s environment is helping with her development and relationship awareness.

Comments are closed.