This paper examines the impact of three distinct family structures (two-parent families, single-parent female-headed families, and female-headed subfamilies) on a mother's (or her proxy's) report of her child's health and medical care utilization. The results reveal that single mothers report poorer overall health of their preschool-aged children than do mothers in intact marriages. When controlling for demographic factors, however, single mothers in subfamilies report levels of health for their children that are comparable to those reported by married mothers. Not withstanding economic resources, the probability that a child will see a physician during the course of a year is similar for children in alternate caregiving arrangements, although the reasons for which medical attention is sought differ significantly. Our results suggest that both lack of social support and economic disadvantage affect a mother's report of her child's health and the type of care the child receives.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health