TabMenu

Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

Effects of multiple maternal relationship transitions on offspring antisocial behavior in childhood and adolescence: a cousin-comparison analysis

TitleEffects of multiple maternal relationship transitions on offspring antisocial behavior in childhood and adolescence: a cousin-comparison analysis
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsGoodnight, JA, D'Onofrio, BM, Cherlin, AJ, Emery, RE, Van Hulle, CA, Lahey, BB
JournalJ Abnorm Child Psychol
Volume41
Pagination185-98
Date PublishedFeb
ISBN Number1573-2835 (Electronic)0091-0627 (Linking)
Accession Number22829173
Keywords*Family Characteristics, Adolescent, Child, Child Behavior Disorders/*epidemiology, Child, Preschool, Confounding Factors (Epidemiology), Female, Humans, Interpersonal Relations, Juvenile Delinquency/*statistics & numerical data, Likelihood Functions, Male, Marital Status/statistics & numerical data, Multilevel Analysis, Parent-Child Relations, Parenting/psychology, Parents/*psychology, Pregnancy, Research Design, Risk Factors, Socioeconomic Factors, United States/epidemiology, Young Adult
Abstract

Previous studies of the association between multiple parental relationship transitions (i.e., when a parent begins or terminates an intimate relationship involving cohabitation) and offspring antisocial behavior have varied in their efforts to rule out confounding influences, such as parental antisocial behavior and low income. They also have been limited in the representativeness of their samples. Thus, it remains unclear to what degree parents' multiple relationship transitions have independent effects on children's antisocial behavior. Analyses were conducted using data on 8,652 6-9-year-old, 6,911 10-13-year-old, and 6,495 14-17-year-old offspring of a nationally representative sample of U.S. women. Cousin-comparisons were used in combination with statistical covariates to evaluate the associations between maternal relationship transitions and offspring antisocial behavior in childhood and adolescence. Cousin-comparisons suggested that associations between maternal relationship transitions and antisocial behavior in childhood and early adolescence are largely explained by confounding factors. In contrast, the associations between maternal relationship transitions and offspring delinquency in late adolescence were robust to measured and unmeasured confounds. The present findings suggest that interventions aimed at reducing exposure to parental relationship transitions or addressing the psychosocial consequences of exposure to parental relationship transitions could reduce risk for offspring delinquency in late adolescence.

PMCID

PMC3505263