Family structure and children’s unmet health-care needs




Irvin, Katherine
Fahim, Farhan
Alshehri, Saeed
Kitsantas, Panagiota

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Journal of Child Health Care


This study assessed children’s unmet health-care needs within different family types (two-parent biological/adoptive, two-parent stepfamily, and single-mother family type) using data from the 2011/2012 National Survey of Children’s Health. Findings indicate that 10.4% of children in single-mother family types had unmet health-care needs compared to 8.7% of children from a two-parent stepfamily and 5.3% for those from two-parent biological/adoptive families. Further analyses revealed racial/ethnic disparities with Black children from two parent-biological/adoptive families being 1.54 (95% confidence interval 1.13, 2.05) times more likely to have unmet health-care needs, while Hispanic children were less likely to have unmet health-care needs relative to their white counterparts. Children from lower income two-parent families had a higher likelihood of unmet health-care needs. The noncontinuous insurance coverage was a risk factor for increasing unmet health-care needs across all three different family types. These findings show major differences in unmet health-care needs among children living in different family structure types. It is recommended that interventions for increasing access to care need to be tailored differently across various family types in order to achieve continuous and sufficient health-care services for our children.



Access to health services, Children health care, Family structure, Health-care needs, Healthcare


Irvin, Katherine, Farhan Fahim, Saeed Alshehri, and Panagiota Kitsantas. “Family Structure and Children’s Unmet Health-Care Needs.” Journal of Child Health Care 22, no. 1 (March 2018): 57–67. doi:10.1177/1367493517748372.