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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 97, Issue 6, pp 440–444 | Cite as

The Health of Single Fathers

Demographic, Economic and Social Correlates
  • Bonnie L. Janzen
  • Kathryn Green
  • Nazeem Muhajarine
Article

Abstract

Background

The proportion of families headed by single fathers is increasing in many developed countries. The purpose of the present study was to examine the impact of single parenting on the self-rated health of Canadian fathers living with children, and the extent to which this relationship can be explained by social, demographic, and economic factors.

Methods

Secondary analysis of data from a national community health survey. The sample studied consists of 15,662 Canadian men aged 15–64, living with at least one child under the age of 25.

Results

Compared to partnered fathers, single fathers had poorer self-rated health. The relationship between partner status and self-rated health could be completely explained by single fathers’ older age, lower income, and higher rate of unemployment.

Conclusions

Single fathers experience poorer perceived health. This effect appears to result from the economic and social disadvantage associated with raising children alone rather than from single parenting in and of itself. These findings, in combination with previous research, suggest a need for provincial and federal policies to target the well-being of both single mothers and single fathers.

MeSHterms

Fathers single parent health 

Résumé

Contexte

La proportion des familles dirigées par des pères seuls est en hausse dans plusieurs pays développés. Le but de cette étude était d’examiner l’effet de la monoparentalité sur la santé autoévaluée des pères canadiens habitant avec leurs enfants, et la mesure dans laquelle ce lien peut s’exprimer en fonction de facteurs sociaux, démographiques et économiques.

Méthode

Analyse de données secondaires provenant d’une enquête nationale portant sur la santé dans les collectivités. L’échantillon étudié était composé de 15 662 Canadiens de sexe masculin âgés de 15 à 64 ans, habitant avec au moins un enfant de moins de 25 ans.

Résultats

En comparaison de celle des pères vivant en couple, la santé autoévaluée des pères seuls était moins bonne. Le lien entre l’état civil et la santé autoévaluée pouvait s’expliquer entièrement par l’âge plus avancé, le revenu plus faible, et le taux de chômage plus élevé des pères seuls.

Conclusion

Les pères seuls perçoivent leur santé comme étant moins bonne. Cet effet semble provenir d’une situation économique et sociale désavantageuse liée au fait d’élever seul des enfants, plutôt qu’au seul fait d’être chef de famille monoparentale. Ces résultats, combinés à ceux d’autres travaux de recherche, tendent à démontrer le besoin de politiques provinciales et fédérales propres à agir sur le bien-être des pères seuls, comme sur celui des mères seules.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bonnie L. Janzen
    • 1
  • Kathryn Green
    • 1
  • Nazeem Muhajarine
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Community Health & EpidemiologyUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  2. 2.Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research UnitCanada

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