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Entries in Growing Up In Scotland (1)

Tuesday
Jun072011

Scottish Family Study Ignores Fathers

Growing Up in Scotland (GUS) is a significant source of information about family life in Scotland.  But the publication of the most recent set of results from year five highlights the fact that a key dimension is missing from this cohort study of the lives of 14,000 children growing up in Scotland.

For instance, in the GUS report on change in early childhood and the impact of significant events, the section on separation includes information on whether mothers re-partner, and on whether the likelihood of separaton is higher amongst mothers who are younger, have no qualifications, are cohabiting, or when the birth had not been planned.  None of this information is presented for the fathers in these families. In a table headed "Characteristics of Parents", only the mother's details appear.

Growing Up in Scotland is an extremely important piece of government funded research, which will be used to plan services for parents and children for decades to come.  Families Need Fathers Scotland is concerned that this study is missing the chance to explore the influence of fathers and how they contribute to the upbringing of their children. 

With 11% of the families in the GUS study experiencing parental separation in the first five years of their lives, and parental separation significantly associated with a higher likelihood of income poverty and poor maternal mental health, we need to consider the whole picture, including fathers,  in order to find the best ways of imporoving outcomes for these children.

Families Need Fathers Scotland will contact the GUS organisers to discuss whether fathers, particularly those not living with their children, could be considered more in future publications.