hildren growing up in single-parent families are
twice as likely as their counterparts in two-parent families
to develop serious psychiatric illnesses and addictions later
in life, a Swedish study has found.
The question of why and how those children end up with such
problems remains unanswered. The study suggests that financial
hardship may play a role, but some experts question that
Experts say the study, published this week in the British
medical journal The Lancet, is convincing because it is
unprecedented in scale and follow-up. It tracked about a
million children for a decade, into their mid-20's.
The study used the Swedish national registries, which cover
almost the entire population and provide extensive
socioeconomic and health data.
Children were considered to be living in a single-parent
household if they were living with the same single adult in
the housing censuses of both 1985 and 1990. About 65,000 were
living with their mother or their father, some 921,000 with
The scientists found that children with single parents were
twice as likely as the others to develop a psychiatric illness
like severe depression or schizophrenia, to commit suicide or
try to, and to develop an alcohol-related