The Importance of Duration of Family Structure in the Production of Adolescent Health

Alexander Slade, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Andrea H. Beller, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Using Wave I of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, this paper examines the relationship between duration of time in a single-parent family during childhood from birth to age at the survey and adverse health outcomes during adolescence. A recursive health production function is estimated using a multivariate probit model to clarify the relationship between health outcomes, health investment activities, and single-parent family structure. Our measure distinguishes some time in a single-parent family from one’s entire life to current age. We find that children who spent different amounts of time had different rates of adverse health outcomes, and different investments. Adolescents who spent some time, but not their entire lives, in a single-parent family have a higher likelihood of reporting fair to poor health, and are less likely to have private health insurance. Consistent with previous literature on educational and behavioral outcomes, males are more adversely affected than females.

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Presented in Poster Session 2