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They were asked to rate their hyperactivity, conduct, emotional problems and relationships with peers.
Researchers then grouped children into three categories ranging from “normal” to “serious behavioural problems”.
Lisa Calderwood, from London University’s Institute of Education, said: “Living apart from natural fathers can be associated with poverty and negative outcomes for children.” Researchers are tracking children’s behaviour, school choice and cognitive development as part of the on-going Millennium Cohort Study, which is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.
But previous studies have found children raised by lone mothers are likely to have less economic security, less attention and guidance and more likely to live in deprived areas.
A separate analysis of the Millennium Cohort Study – based at the Institute of Education – tracked the effect of mothers’ age on children’s early development.
The study called for further action to reduce teenage pregnancy to give children a more stable start in life.
"As these experiences are particularly concentrated among children of young mothers these findings provide support for policies aimed at reducing teenage pregnancy,” researchers said.