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Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University

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The role of child support debt on the development of mental health problems among nonresident fathers

Individual Author: 
Um, Hyunjoon

Using the first five waves of data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS), this research examines whether nonresident fathers who owe child support arrears are at risk for the development of depression and alcohol abuse problems. To attenuate a potential omitted variable bias, I controlled for fathers’ previous mental health status by including a lagged dependent variable as a covariate. As a robustness check, I used an instrumental variable approach to correct for endogeneity and measurement error associated with mothers’ report of fathers’ child support arrears.

Who should marry whom?: Multiple partner fertility among new parents

Individual Author: 
Mincy, Ronald B.

This paper documents the extent and correlates of multiple partner fertility among parents in the Fragile Families and Child Well-being Survey in order to assess the opportunities and challenges that await marriage promotion policies which are attracting the attention of policy makers. We find that the majority of mothers who responded to the baseline and 12-month follow-up surveys are not first time mothers and the majority of mothers with two or more children have had at least one child with someone other than the father of their newborn.

Childhood health: Trends and consequences over the life course

Individual Author: 
Delaney, Liam
Smith, James P.

This article first documents evidence on the changing prevalence of childhood physical and mental health problems, focusing on the development of childhood health conditions in the United States. Authors Liam Delaney and James Smith present evidence on the changing prevalence of childhood chronic conditions over time using recalled data as well as contemporaneous accounts of these childhood health problems.

U.S. elementary and secondary schools: Equalizing opportunity or replicating the status quo?

Individual Author: 
Rouse, Cecilia Elena
Barrow, Lisa

Although education pays off handsomely in the United States, children from low-income families attain less education than children from more advantaged families. In this article, Cecilia Elena Rouse and Lisa Barrow investigate why family background is so strongly linked to education.

Targeting interventions for ethnic minority and low-income populations

Individual Author: 
Kumanyika, Shiriki
Grier, Sonya

Although rates of childhood obesity among the general population are alarmingly high, they are higher still in ethnic minority and low-income communities. The disparities pose a major challenge for policymakers and practitioners planning strategies for obesity prevention. In this article Shiriki Kumanyika and Sonya Grier summarize differences in childhood obesity prevalence by race and ethnicity and by socioeconomic status.

Two-generation programs in the twenty-first century

Individual Author: 
Chase-Lansdale, P. Lindsay
Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne

Most of the authors in this issue of Future of Children focus on a single strategy for helping both adults and children that could become a component of two-generation programs. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, on the other hand, look at actual programs with an explicit two-generation focus that have been tried in the past or are currently under way.

Parental relationships in fragile families

Individual Author: 
McLanahan, Sara
Beck, Audrey N.

As nonmarital childbearing escalated in the United States over the past half century, fragile families—defined as unmarried couples with children—drew increased interest from researchers and policy makers. Sara McLanahan and Audrey Beck discuss four aspects of parental relationships in these families: the quality of parents' intimate relationship, the stability of that relationship, the quality of the co-parenting relationship among parents who live apart, and nonresident fathers' involvement with their child.

Marriage as a public issue

Individual Author: 
Nock, Steven L.

Over the past fifty years, powerful cultural and social forces have made marriage less central to Americans' family lives. In reaction, the United States is now engaged in a wide-ranging debate about the place of marriage in contemporary society.

Why don’t they just get married? Barriers to marriage among the disadvantaged

Individual Author: 
Edin, Kathryn
Reed, Joanna

Kathryn Edin and Joanna Reed review recent research on social and economic barriers to marriage among the poor and discuss the efficacy of efforts by federal and state policymakers to promote marriage among poor unmarried couples, especially those with children, in light of these findings.

Marriage and fatherhood programs

Individual Author: 
Cowan, Philip
Cowan, Carolyn Pape
Knox, Virginia

To improve the quality and stability of couple and father-child relationships in fragile families, researchers are beginning to consider how to tailor existing couple-relationship and father-involvement interventions, which are now targeted on married couples, to the specific needs of unwed couples in fragile families. The goal, explain Philip Cowan, Carolyn Pape Cowan, and Virginia Knox, is to provide a more supportive developmental context for mothers, fathers, and, especially, the children in fragile families.