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Version 1.2 – Updated June 2023

Family structure


  • Influence: Family structure
  • Domain: Home
  • Sub-Domain: Family structure
  • Potential to Accelerate Student Achievement: Likely to have a small positive impact
  • Influence Definition: Families can include one, two, or more parents (in some cultures, children are brought up in multiple family situations), LGBTQ+ parents, and parents who work or stay at home with their children. There may also be alternative guardians such as siblings, immediate relatives or adoptive families.


  • Number of meta-analyses: 5
  • Number of studies: 209
  • Number of students: 45,318
  • Number of effects: 255
  • Weighted mean effect size: 0.14
  • Robustness index: 3


Journal Title Author First Author's Country Article Name Year Published Variable Number of Studies Number of Students Number of Effects Effect Size
Psychological Bulletin Falbo & Polit USA Quantitative review of the only child literature: Research evidence and theory development 1986 Only vs. non-only children 115 0 115 0.17
Psychological Bulletin Murray, Farrington, & Sekol UK Children's antisocial behavior, mental health, drug use, and educational performance after parental incarceration: a systematic review and meta-analysis 2012 Incarcerated parents 40 44,699 40 0.08
Journal of Homosexuality Allen & Burrell USA Comparing the Impact of Homosexual and Heterosexual Parents on Children 1997 Heterosexual vs. Homosexual parents 13 619 13 0.11
Journal of GLBT Family Studies Crowl, Ahn, & Baker USA A meta-analysis of developmental outcomes for children of same-sex and heterosexual parents 2008 Same sex parents 19 0 65 0.15
Journal of Marriage and Family Pong, Dronkers, Hampden-Thompson USA Family Policies and Children's School Achievement in Single- Versus Two-Parent Families 2003 Two parent vs. single family on math and science 22 0 22 0.13
TOTAL/AVERAGE 209 45,318 255 0.13
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