Discussion Paper no. 04-11


The current article analyzes 1994-2000 data from the Canadian National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth to examine the relevance of family structures to trajectories of parental reports on hyperactivity - inattention among elementary school aged children. A latent growth modelling approach is used to compare children living in intact families, lone-parent families, stepfamilies, and families where parents divorced or separated. The results highlight the apparent advantages to living in intact families and the slightly greater risks experienced by children living in stepfamilies. Children in lone-parent families, while experiencing an initial disadvantage, displayed a similar trajectory on hyperactivity to children in intact families over the 1994-2000 period. With regard to the children of divorce, the current study finds little evidence of a predisruption effect, as the children whose parents divorce or separate over 1994- 2000 appear initially no worse off then children whose parents stay together.