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Child Adjustment in Joint-Custody Versus Sole-Custody Arrangements


Child Adjustment in Joint-Custody Versus Sole-Custody Arrangements: A Meta-Analytic Review

By Robert Bauserman, AIDS Administration/Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Children in joint physical or legal custody were better adjusted than children in sole-custody settings, but no different from those in intact families. More positive adjustment of joint-custody children held for separate comparisons of general adjustment, family relationships, self-esteem, emotional and behavioral adjustment, and divorce-specific adjustment.

Joint-custody parents reported less current and past conflict than did sole-custody parents, but this did not explain the better adjustment of joint-custody children. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that joint custody can be advantageous for children in some cases, possibly by facilitating ongoing positive involvement with both parents.

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