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Reexamining the Effects of Family Structure on Children's Access to Care: The Single-Father Family

Objective. To examine the effects of family structure, focusing on the single-father family, on children's access to medical care.

Data Source. The 1999 and 2002 rounds of the National Survey of America's Families (NSAF) including 62,193 children ages 0–17 years.

Study Design. We employ a nationally representative sample of children residing in two-parent families, single-mother families, and single-father families. Multivariate logistic regression is used to examine the relationship between family structure and measures of access to care. We estimate stratified models on children below 200 percent of the federal poverty threshold and those above.

Data Collection/Extraction Method. We combine data from the Focal Child and Adult Pair modules of the 1999 and 2002 waves of the NSAF.

Principal Findings. Children who reside in single-father families exhibit poorer access to health care than children in other family structures. The stratified models suggest that, unlike residing in a single-mother family, the effects of residence in a single-father family do not vary by poverty status.

Conclusions. Children in single-father families may be more vulnerable to health shocks than their peers in other family structures.

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