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Family structure instability and the educational persistence of young people in England

Hampden-Thompson, Gillian; Galindo, Claudia


Claudia Galindo


Research in the area of family structure and educational outcomes has often failed to account for instability in family structure. Furthermore, prior research in this area has been dominated by North American studies with a smaller body emerging from Europe. This study draws upon 10,783 young people and their parents from the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England to examine the association between family structure and family structure instability on post-16 educational persistence. Multivariate models indicate that family structure instability has a negative impact on educational persistence. After controlling for covariates, young people who had experienced family structure instability were 33\% less likely to stay in education than young people who resided in married biological families during the four years prior to the end of compulsory schooling. The findings of this research provide evidence that young people who have experienced a change in family circumstances during these four years are potentially at risk of dropping out of school ? this is the case irrespective of the nature of the change. Once covariates were accounted for, young people who resided in stable lone-parent households were just as likely as those in stable married biological families to continue to post-16 education. Analyses were also conducted to determine the educational persistence of young people from biological vs step-cohabitating families.


Hampden-Thompson, G., & Galindo, C. (2015). Family structure instability and the educational persistence of young people in England. British Educational Research Journal, 41(5), 749-766.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Mar 16, 2015
Publication Date 2015-10
Deposit Date Sep 1, 2023
Journal British Educational Research Journal
Print ISSN 0141-1926
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 41
Issue 5
Pages 749-766
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