Partnership dissolution and formation

Government policy has emphasised the need to prevent family breakdown to prevent children from growing up in poverty. The economic outcomes of women, men and dependent children are affected differently by partnership dissolution. On average, women fare worse than men, but research suggests that the negative impact of partnership dissolution on lone parents’ income and well-being was lower in the early- to mid- 2000s than in the 1990s. 

Using data from the British Household Panel Survey 1991-2008, this project will provide a comprehensive, up-to-date and neutral assessment of the impact of partnership dissolution on the economic circumstances of the family, the labour market behaviour of adults, and the mental health and/or well-being of both adults and children.

Because these processes and outcomes interact, the project will, crucially, examine how these outcomes change jointly, rather than investigating each individually. It will also assess how these outcomes affect, and are affected by, the time to subsequent re-partnering.

The project will also provide up-to-date estimates of the proportion of adults and children who will experience life in different family forms. 

Project details



Professor Mike Brewer, ISER, University of Essex

Amount and Duration:


January 2012 - September 2013



The report is available from ISER's website.

Listen to Professor Brewer's podcast.