Children’s personality to explain the link between joint physical custody and child well-being: a risk and resiliency perspective

An Katrien Sodermans, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Sofie Vanassche, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Koen Matthijs, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Recently a Belgian law was installed promoting joint physical custody after divorce. Hence, an increasing amount of children with divorced parents are living alternately in the household of mother and father. Many research has been conducted about the effects of joint physical custody on child well-being, but little attention has been paid to intermediating factors. In this paper, we include the child’s personality to explain this link. We rely on five broad universal personality traits (the Big Five) to explain differential coping of children with their residential arrangement. Because personality is supposed to have a genetic base, this paper will contribute to the gene versus environment debate. Concrete, we will compare the emotional well-being of children in three different residential settings (shared, mother, father residence) and investigate the moderating effect of the five personality traits on this association. We have data available from approximately 1600 Flemish pupils with divorced parents, collected within the LAGO-project.

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Presented in Session 108: Family structure and child well-being