Single mothers by choice

What social science says about the new trend

March 1, 2007 | by Jennifer Roback Morse
PDF:  Single mothers by choice


  1. Plate, T. (2007, February 8). Unmarried, with Children. Seattle Times, Retrieved online at
  2. For useful summaries, see Gallagher, M., Baker, J. (2004). Do moms and dads matter? Evidence from the social sciences on family structure and the best interests of the child. Margins, 4. p. 161-180. Moore, K.A., Jekielek, S.M., Emig, C. (2002, June). Marriage from a child’s perspective: How does family structure affect children and what can we do about it? Child Trends Research Brief. Roback-Morse, J. (2005). Smart Sex: Finding Life-long Love in a Hook-up World, Dallas: Spence Publishing.
  3. Pong, S-L., Ju, D-B. (2000, March). The effects of change in family structure and income on dropping out of middle and high school. Journal of Family Issues, 21(2). pp. 147-169.
  4. Vaden-Kiernan, N., Ialongo, N.S., Pearson, J., Kellan, S. (1995). Household family structure and children’s aggressive behavior: A longitudinal study of urban elementary school children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 23(5). pp. 553-568.
  5. Harper, C.C., McLanahan, S.S. (2004). Father absence and youth incarceration. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 14(3). pp. 369-397.
  6. Hall, S. (2006, November 2). Schizophrenia much more likely in children of single parents. The Guardian. Retrieved online at http://,,1953958,00.html.
  7. Weitoft, G.R., Hjern, A., Haglund, B., Rosen, M. (2003, January 25). Mortality, severe morbidity and injury in children living with single parents in Sweden: A population-based study. The Lancet, 361(9354).
  8. Carey, B. (2007, March 26). Poor behavior linked to time in daycare. New York Times. Retrieved online at http://www.nytimes. com/2007/03/26/us/26center.html?ex=1332561600&en=556a3432ec2c944e&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss. See also, Belsky, J., Woodworth, S., Crnic K. (1996). Trouble in the second year: Three questions about family interaction. Child Development, 67. pp. 556-578 and NICHD Early Child Care Research Network (1998, August). Early childcare and self-control, compliance and problem behavior at twenty-four and thirty-six months. Child Development, 69(4). pp. 1145-70.
  9. Zill, N. (1998). Behavior, achievement and health problems among children in stepfamilies: Findings from a national survey of child health. In Hetherington, E.M., Arasteh, J.D. (Eds.), Impact of Divorce, Single Parenting and Stepparenting on Children (pp. 325-68). Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  10. Amato, P.R., Rivera, F. (1999, May). Paternal involvement and children’s behavior problems. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 61. pp. 375-384. Dawson, D.A. (1991, August). Family Structure and children’s health and well-being: Data from the 1988 National Health Interview Survey on Child Health. Journal of Marriage and the Family, vol. 53, pp. 573-584. McLanahan, S.S., Booth, K. (1989, August). Mother-only families: Problems, prospects and politics. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 51, no. 3 pp. 557-80 find that remarriage does not fully repair the loss to the children of divorced mothers. See also Furstenberg, F. (1994, Spring). History and current status of divorce in the United States. The Future of Children, 4, no.1. p. 37.
  11. Harper, C.C., McLanahan, S.S. (2004). Father absence and youth incarceration. pp. 369-397.
  12. Clark, K. (2006, December 17). My father was an anonymous sperm donor. Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost. com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/15/AR2006121501820.html
  13. Is “hooking up” unhealthy for teens? (2007, March 5). Today Show. NBC. In which Amber Madison, author of the book Hooking Up says, explicitly, “women are afraid of relationships.” Retrieved from