The incidence of single-parent families has increased significantly in Taiwan in recent years. Children born in single-parent families are predisposed to suffering from emotional problems. We aimed to determine if the children of single-parent families are more depressive than children from both-parent families, and to examine the individual and joint effects of various factors on the depression risk. A cross-sectional study was performed to investigate the depression status of elementary school children in MiaoLi County, Taiwan. A total of 881 eligible subjects, including 144 children from single-parent families were recruited from 29 schools. Data for depression-related demographic characteristics, family and school variables were collected. The results show that 27.6% of children from single-father families with depressive symptoms, 15.1% children from single-mother families and 15.3% children from both-parent families with repressive symptoms. This study provides significant evidences that single-father family was one significant predictor for childhood depression and the enhanced effects of socioeconomic status and peer relationship on depression of children from single father families were found up to 4-fold (OR = 4.0, 95% CI = 1.8-8.5) and 5-fold (OR = 5.5, 95% CI = 2.3-13.2) risk respectively. The results provide hints to parents and teachers for improving the mental health of children in single-parent families by reducing the occurrence of depression.
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