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Journal of Family Issues



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We know little about children who have two living nonresident biological parents. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, this study examines the diverse living arrangements of U.S. adolescents in this situation, the kinds of relationships they have with each of their nonresident parents, and the consequences of these arrangements for child well-being. Differences between these adolescents (N = 502) and those who have one nonresident biological parent (N = 4746) are also examined. Results point to certain groups of adolescents with two nonresident parents who are at particular risk of exhibiting higher levels of behavior problems (those living alone or with an aunt and uncle) or who, alternatively, are faring comparatively better (those living with biological relative caregivers or two nonbiological parent figures).


This research was supported by funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to Valarie King, principal investigator (R01 HD43384), and from core funding to the Population Research Institute, The Pennsylvania State University (R24 HD41025). This research uses data from Add Health, a program project designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris, and funded by a grant P01 HD31921 from NICHD, with cooperative funding from 17 other agencies. Special acknowledgment is due Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Persons interested in obtaining data files from Add Health should contact Add Health, Carolina Population Center, 123 W. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516-2524 ( We thank Paul Amato, Alan Booth, Cassandra Dorius, Daphne Hernandez, Bryndl Hohmann-Marriott, Catherine Meyers, Jennifer Pearce-Morris, Mindy Scott, Jinsook Helen Seo, and Christina Wolfe for their helpful comments on previous drafts. We also thank Jeanne Spicer of the Population Research Institute for expert programming assistance.