Distribution of accidents, injuries, and illnesses by family type

ALSPAC Study Team, L Davies, J Dunn, J Golding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. To investigate whether family type and psychosocial risks indexed by family type were systematically associated with differences in health outcomes in children. Design and Subjects. The study is based on a longitudinal, prospective study of a large (n = similar to 10 000) community sample of families, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Pregnancy and Childhood. Main Outcome Measures. Frequency of accidents, illnesses, and medical interventions. Results. At 2 years of age, children in single-parent and stepfamilies were disproportionately likely to experience accidents and receive medical treatment for physical illnesses. In addition, children in single-parent families and stepfamilies were more likely to be hospitalized or receive attention from a hospital doctor for an injury or illness. Exposure to psychosocial risks also were elevated in single-parent families and stepfamilies, compared with intact or nonstepfamilies, and these factors primarily accounted for the connection between family type and children's physical health. Conclusions. The consequences of family transitions on children's health extend beyond traditional mental health and behavioral outcomes and include accident proneness, illness, and receipt of medical attention. The mediating processes are not entirely attributable to social class differences connected to family type and may instead be associated with a range of psychosocial risks that are more frequently found in single-parent families and stepfamilies, compared with intact or nonstepfamilies. Prevention and intervention efforts directed toward children at risk for poor behavioral and mental health adjustment secondary to family disruption should consider children's physical health and health-related behaviors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)art. no. - e68
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2000


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