Children in single-parent families are just as happy, study finds

The number of parents living in the home has ‘no significant effect’ on the happiness of children, say researchers


Children who live with 1 parent are just as happy as those raised by mum and dad, a study has found.


As if we didn’t know already. But it’s nice to hear the academics – researchers from NatCen Social Research – confirm that family composition has ‘no significant effect’ on the happiness of children.

It’s the quality of relationships at home that count, they say.

The researchers analysed data from the Millennium Cohort Study, focusing on 12,877 children who were aged 7 in 2008, from across the UK and who either were living with 2 biological parents, living with a step-parent and a biological parent or living with a single parent.

All the 7-year-olds were asked the question: “How often do you feel happy?”

And the same results were exactly the same, regardless of the child’s domestic set-up: 36% said they were happy “all the time”, while the remaining 64% reported being happy “sometimes or never”.

Jenny Chanfreau, a senior researcher at NatCen, said  that a “happy, harmonious family dynamic” was crucial for child happiness, adding: “It’s the quality of the relationships in the home that matters, not the family composition.”

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MadeForMums Writer – Jessica Gibb

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