American society and family setup have been changing over the past fifty years. The number of single-parent families has increased dramatically with almost 50% of children at present being born in a single parent household. Traditional research has shown that single-parent families are linked to social problems in offsprings, and they represent a risk factor. They also assert that two-parent families are vital for normal development of children, lead to behavioral problems and create social and cognitive deficiencies in children. They also show poor academic performance and significantly lower competence.
The authors, Kesner and McKenry (2001) argue in this article that in fact the traditional approaches and researches have serious weaknesses, particularly related to socioeconomic status, which is not controlled by a majority of the studies. They argue that it is, in fact, the diminished economic resources that bring about the problems in children. Moreover, the majority of studies fundamentally target white Caucasian families.
Kesner and McKenry (2001) study African Americans in their research and they contend that their family structure is much more supportive than white families. This study researched only one type of single-parent families: those mothers who had never married, thus the type of Single parent family was controlled. Using a predominantly ethnic minority sample the researchers tried to evaluate the relationship between single-parent family status, children’s gender, and their social skills.
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