Child Indicators Research

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 65-83

First online:

Changes in Family Structure and the Well-Being of British Children: Evidence from a Fifteen-Year Panel Study

  • Karen RobsonAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, York University Email author 

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In this paper, I use the Youth Panel data in the British Household Panel Survey to examine how changes in family structure influence the well-being of young people in the sample. Using 15 years of panel data, I use pooled cross-sectional and fixed effects models to estimate how the changes in family structure influence the well-being of children. In the pooled cross-sectional analysis, statistically significant differences are found between young people in living with two biological parents and all other groups. Fixed effects models demonstrate that transitioning out of a two-parent biological family is associated with less happiness, self esteem and household income. Movement into stepfamilies also decreases the happiness of young people, although the transition is also met by an increase in household income.


Family structure Family transitions Youth well-being Child well-being