Today, less than half of children will grow up in a traditional nuclear family with two married, biological parents. Instead, most children will be raised in complex families in which parents and children do not share residential or biological ties. Despite growing recognition of these trends, we know little about how these conditions shape children’s well-being. This research will focus on the family settings of adolescents and investigate how family complexity varies by race and socioeconomic status, as well as its effects on adolescents’ experiences and general well-being. The first part of the study will use nationally-representative surveys, including three of the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth (1979 Cohort, 1997 Cohort, and Children and Young Adults). The second part of the study will collect data from eight complex families living in New York state, including adolescents and all of their family members.
How do unstable and complex family structures affect adolescents’ well-being?