Family Structure, Parent-Child Relationships, and Self-Rated Health in Adolescence and Young Adulthood

Holly Heard, Rice University
Bridget K. Gorman, Rice University
Carolyn A. Kapinus, Ball State University

Using data from Waves I and III of Add Health, we examine the association between aspects of the parent-child relationship and self-rated health in adolescence (Wave I) and young adulthood (Wave III) for respondents living in two biological/adoptive, stepfather, and single mother families at Wave I. Overall, our findings indicate that self-rated health is reduced for respondents who lived in stepfather or single mother families during adolescence, although the effect is reduced in young adulthood. Family structure effects at both waves are explained by mother-child relationship measures and indicators of health characteristics and behaviors. Within-family structure models show that Wave I parent-child relationship measures are stronger predictors of self-rated health at Wave I than at Wave III. The influence of mother-child relationship measures on self-rated health is largely explained by indicators of the father-child relationship and health characteristics and behaviors.

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Presented in Session 71: Family and Health Over the Life Course