Divorce linked to mental illness in children

Divorce | 15 Jan 2018 5

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September 22, 2020

Divorce has been linked to higher rates of mental illness among children from Caucasian families.

A team of researchers from University College London and the nearby Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families polled 30,000 children between the ages of 11 and 14, in the largest survey of children’s mental health conducted to date.

The participants were quizzed about their emotions, in particular whether they had ever felt sad, tearful or anxious. Their responses were allocated scores and those above a certain level were judged to have diagnosable mental health difficulties where professional intervention by a counsellor or psychiatrist would be appropriate.

The team found distinct differences between children from different backgrounds. No less than one in five, or 20 per cent, of the white children scored above the emotional threshold for professional intervention. By contrast only 14 per cent of children from other ethnic backgrounds did.

Lead researcher Dr Jess Deighton is a professor of child mental health and wellbeing at University College London. She suggested the difference could be down to higher rates of divorce and family breakdown in white families. By contrast, she claimed, the children of families from other ethnic backgrounds may benefit from “better family cohesion or having a more diverse group of friends, bringing more social capital”.

In addition, children from white families may be more used to talking about their emotions, she continued, encouraging survey participants to be more forthright about their feelings.

The researchers also found a stark difference between boys and girls: 25 per cent of the latter crossed the threshold but only 11 per cent of the boys.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. Guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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Comments(5)

  1. Helen Dudden says:

    I’m also concerned by the effects of Child Abduction, and Illegal Retention on Childs Mental Health.
    This is another area, that needs more done. International issues, still are full of problems. Parental Alienation in some circumstances, could be reduced by blame free divorce.
    It’s a terrible situation when a child suffers in this way, often blaming themselves for the failure.

  2. Spike Robinson says:

    This is not being accurately reported at all. The confounding factor of whether a child is likely to self-report swamps any other inferences. I would bet that’s all that’s really been measured here – propensity to self-report problems. It’s a shame that such a large scale survey was wasted by poor research design – they should have recorded and controlled for these factors (causative factors and confounding factors) if they wanted to study them.

    A more accurate way of summarising these findings would be “Girls more likely to report problems than girls; white children more likely to report than non-white; researchers suggest possible link to divorce ”

    I would welcome a well designed study with the claimed findings and I suspect it is true that divorce increases mental illness in children (and parents). However misrepresenting the results of flawed and inconclusive studies like this doesn’t help anyone.

  3. Stitchedup says:

    This really doesn’t surprise me, divorce is often devastating for any children involved, more often than not they stand to loose any meaningful contact with one loving parent for no good reason… all facilitated by the courts and associated feminist agencies.

    “The researchers also found a stark difference between boys and girls: 25 per cent of the latter crossed the threshold but only 11 per cent of the boys.” I guess the same argument could be applied here i.e. girls may be more used to talking about their emotions than boys, encouraging female survey participants to be more forthright about their feelings. Boy’s affected by divorce, like men that suffer domestic abuse, tend not to open up and talk or complain about it. Doesn’t mean they’re not affected though.

  4. Carol Gordon Ekster says:

    I believe that divorce has a lasting impact on children. I taught 4th grade for 35 years and saw its effects. That’s why it’s so important to talk to children about this situation and about their feelings. School counselors should be talking to elementary school classrooms to discuss this. And it is why, when I started writing children’s books, my first published book was about divorce. WHERE AM I SLEEPING TONIGHT?(A Story of Divorce) is the perfect vehicle to start a discussion with. And there are many wonderful books that enable families and counselors and teachers to better communicate about this difficult topic.

  5. Mr T says:

    This is so blatantly obvious.

    Institutionalised alienation of children.
    Biased laws rigged to prosecute men for trying to be dads and parent. The courts give out non-molestation orders like sweets, then never appeal or dismiss them.
    Rewarding women with residence and CMS removing all responsibility who then have children, in some cases multiple children to multiple men to maximise income from the CMS.

    These children then grow up disordered and alienated from their dads. No male role models so end up behaving like the disordered entitled women that have brought them up.

    It’s the silent epidemic of western society. Have a look at some stats from CAHMS and mental health the prevalence of personality disorders is rife in adult children of single parents, mostly women.

    This needs to change, the government needs to do something about family courts and child maintenance services legalised extortion.

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