Emma Fransson, Anders Hjern & Malin Bergström
Joint physical custody (JPC) refers to children living alternatively and about equally with both parents after a parental separation or divorce. The practice has been debated in relation to child well-being because of the frequent moves imposed on children and the potential stress from living in 2 homes. This study describes the background to the high frequency of Swedish children in JPC and the results from research on Swedish children's well-being in this living arrangement. Children in JPC report better well-being and mental health than children who live mostly or only with 1 parent. No Swedish studies have found children's health to be worse in JPC than in sole parental care from child age of 3 years and beyond. The existing literature cannot, however, inform us about the mechanisms behind the findings. The risks of selection effects into living arrangements are plausible. For this purpose, longitudinal studies are warranted.
> Garde physique conjointe, recours aux parents pour le soutien affectif et la santé subjective : une études des adolescents de Stockholme - March 2014, Scandinavian Journal of Public Health
Sara Brolin Là¥ftman, Malin Bergström, Bitte Modin and Viveca à–stberg
Aims: Among children with separated parents, the arrangement of joint physical custody, i.e. children living equally much in both parents' homes, has increased substantially during the last decades in Sweden. To date, empirical research on the living conditions of this group is limited. This study analyses family type differences in turning to parents for emotional support and in subjective health among adolescents. The focus of the study is adolescents in joint physical custody, who are compared with those living with two original parents in the same household; those living (only) in a single-parent household; and those living (only) in a reconstituted family. Methods: The data come from the Stockholm School Survey of 2004, a total population survey of students in grade 9 (15-16 years) in Stockholm (n=8,840). Ordinary least squares (OLS) regressions were conducted. Results: Turning to both parents about problems is most commonly reported by adolescents in intact families, followed by those in joint physical custody. Adolescents in non-traditional family types report worse subjective health than adolescents in intact families, but the difference is smaller for those in joint physical custody than for those living with a single parent. The slightly poorer health of adolescents in joint physical custody than those in intact families is not explained by their lower use of parents as a source of emotional support. Conclusions: The study suggests that joint physical custody is associated with a higher inclination to use parents as a source of emotional support and better subjective health than other post-divorce family types.
> La santé mentale des enfants suédois vivant en résidence alternée égalitaire, et la satisfaction de leurs parents : une étude transversale - July 2014, Scandinavian Journal of Psychology
Malin Bergstr, Emma Fransson, Karolinska Institutet, Anders Hjern, Karolinska Institutet, Lennart Köhler, Nordic School of Public Health
Mental health in Swedish children living in joint physical custody and their parents' life satisfaction: A cross-sectional study. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. This study compared the psychological symptoms of 129 children in joint physical custody with children in single care and nuclear families, using a nationally representative 2011 survey of 1,297 Swedish children aged between four and 18 years. The outcome measure was the Strengths and Difficul-ties Questionnaire (SDQ) and its association with three dimensions of parental life satisfaction was investigated. Linear regression analyses showed higher SDQ-scores for children in joint physical custody (B = 1.4, p < 0.001) and single care (B = 2.2, p < 0.001) than in nuclear families, after adjustment for socio-demographic variables. The estimates decreased to 1.1 and 1.3, respectively, after being adjusted for parental life satisfaction (p < 0.01). Our findings confirm previous research that showed lower symptom scores for children in nuclear families than children in single care and joint physical custody. Parental life satisfaction should be investigated further as a possible explanation of differences in symptom load between children in different living arrangements.
> Systèmes d'hébergements des enfants dans les familles séparées et santé mentale des parents en Suède.
Sara Fritzella, Michael Gà¤hlerc, Emma Fransson
Father involvement and joint physical custody in post-separation families are increasingly common. In Sweden, 35 percent of the children of separated parents live equally much with both parents. Since parenthood is gendered, the associations between child living arrangement and parental health may vary between women and men. This study analyzes the association between children's living arrangement and mental health of parents, and how this interacts with material and social circumstances. Drawing on The Swedish Survey of Living Conditions (ULF) 2008-2013, the association between child living arrangements and mental health (worry/anxiety) of parents in five family structures: two biological parents, reconstituted with joint or main/sole custody arrangements, single with joint physical custody, and single with main or sole custody, were analyzed. Data on 9,225 mothers and fathers with resident children aged 0-17 were analyzed by logistic regressions for average marginal effects adjusting for socio-demographic, socio-economic and social factors. Analyses of interaction effects were made using the synergy index. Substantial family type differences were found in mental health between two biological parent family and all other family types for mothers, and two biological parent family and single parents for fathers. For the single mothers, the higher risk for worry and anxiety was still found following controls for socioeconomic factors. For fathers, the only differences that remained following control for socioeconomic factors was that of single fathers with children in joint physical custody. Interaction effects were found for the combination of single motherhood and non-employment, indicating a higher risk of mental health problems for single mothers (both with joint and sole custody), than would be expected from a simple addition of these exposures, suggesting that this is a vulnerable group. The results indicate that joint custody is associated with higher risk for worry and anxiety for the parents, especially for mothers both re-partnered and single, but also for single fathers.