Despite the public's antagonism toward single moms in recent years, their children are not faring as badly as once feared, according to new research.

In a study of 22,761 adult men, researchers from the University of Southern California and the University of Washington matched occupational status - including both income and education - to the family type in which the men were raised. Those reared by working single moms did nearly as well professionally as those brought up in two-parent homes. The progeny of unemployed single mothers, however, were more likely to occupy the lowest-paying positions. "It seems that success - or lack of it - has more to do with finances than family structure," says Dr. Timothy Biblarz, lead author of the study. This is welcome news for a group that has been blamed for putting kids at higher risk of early pregnancy, drug abuse and low self-esteem.How are the offspring of single dads doing? According to the same study, not as well as those raised in female-headed households. "But this doesn't mean that fathers aren't up to the task of parenting," says Biblarz. "When a dad has custody, it often means that the moth-er either died or lacks parenting skills - leaving youngsters with the support of only one parent. When mothers have custody, children usually remain in contact with their fathers."