Gähler, Michael Sara C. Fritzell | 2017
International Journal of Health Services, 47:2, pp. 298-311, doi.org/10.1177/0020731416685493
Alternate living, i.e. children living 50-50 with their parents following separation is emerging as a new family form. This study is the first to differentiate separated mothers with sole/main custody from mothers with alternately living children, analysing health outcomes and using a sample representative of the population. The association between the self-rated health (SRH) of mothers and different family structures are examined. Parental cooperation is included in the analyses as a potential mediator. Data on 755 mothers from the 2010 Swedish Level of Living Survey were analyzed by multivariate logistic regression. Single mothers with sole/main custody reported poorer SRH than couple mothers in intact families while the difference was not significant for single mothers with children living alternately and mothers in stepfamilies. Controlling for potential confounders, probabilities for poor SRH for single mothers were reduced. The excess risk among mothers with sole/main custody may be due to poorer socioeconomic conditions. Employment was significantly more common among mothers with alternate living and an important explanatory factor for their better health compared to single mothers with sole/main custody. Adjusting for parental cooperation lowered the increased probability for poor SRH among single mothers with sole/main custody compared to single mothers with alternate living.