Single parents are more stressed than couples, according to a new study of 11,000 Irish babies.
The ‘Growing Up in Ireland’ longitudinal study is following them from birth, to see what factors affect their growth and development.
It also found that premature babies have poorer development at nine months old, than babies who were born full term, although they should catch up later.
Author of the report, Dr Elizabeth Nixon says the report shows that single parents are more stressed than those in homes with two parents.
"We did find slightly higher levels of parental stress in those single-parent families," she said.
"So it's possible that over time, the elevated levels of stress that single parents experience may impact upon their parenting and then, in turn, on their infant's development - but we're not observing that at this point."
The recent budget saw the Government change the €1,650 One-Parent Family Tax Credit, making it available only to the primary carer of a child rather than both parents, renaming it as the Single Person Child Carer Tax Credit.