Family instability refers to changes in parents’ residential and romantic partnerships, such as marriage, divorce, and romantic partners moving in or out of the home. Family instability influences children and adolescents’ functioning, as do household income and parents’ relationship status. Family stability can promote positive social behavior in children and adolescents, while instability is associated with social maladjustment, including behaviors such as aggression toward peers, teachers, or parents. This brief examines the links between family instability during childhood, relationship status at birth, and household income in adolescence, and social competence and aggression in adolescence. (Author introduction modified)
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