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Adults affected by childhood divorce, according to new report

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Children whose parents divorced during their childhoods have a higher risk of “social and psychological problems” in adulthood, according to a new report from the International Centre for Lifecourse Studies in Society and Health, a multi-university research centre funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

According to the report, entitled Life Gets Under Your Skin, the experience of divorce or parental separation during childhood is one of several factors which can have a long-term impact on a person’s wellbeing:

“Children whose parents remain married throughout the early childhood years are less likely to suffer from breathing problems such as asthma, to become overweight or to be injured in accidents by the time they are five years old than children who have experienced a more unstable family situation. Children of lone mothers are also more likely to have some types of behavioural problems than children in two-parent families.”

These effects can last into adulthood:

“Looking at the longer term, we find that parental separation in childhood is consistently associated with psychological distress in adulthood during people’s early 30s. This seems to be true even across different generations, which suggests that as divorce and separation have become more common, their impact on mental health has not reduced.”

One way in which an unstable home life affects children is education, notes the Centre. Children affected by divorce, separation or family stresses may not perform as well in school, making them less likely find rewarding jobs.
Other factors which make a major contribution to wellbeing are said to include a stable family life, secure employment and job satisfaction, and social activity in old age.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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Comment(1)

  1. Observer says:

    I’m not sure why we need researchers to tell us what should be glaringly evident to anyone who considers these things, but I suppose that if the research is not hurting anyone (in contrast with a lot of the pseudo-research and statistics-falsifying that is done in the interests of dubious agendas), then it is worth paying for.
    The last time I spoke up and said to a lawyer that divorce was child abuse, they looked at me disbelievingly. It was as if I had threatened their livelihood or something….

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