Divorce causes children harm long into adulthood, says study

Children suffer through to adulthood after their parents divorce, a new study has revealed.

The research showed family breakdown during childhood was “consistently associatedwith psychological distress in adulthood duringpeople’s early 30s”.

The report also warned about the consequences of changes to the traditional family structure of one mum and one dad.

Concerns

It said, “more freedom also means less certainty, and this has led to concerns about the impact of family instability on the health and well-being of both children and adults”.

Professor Mel Bartley, who edited the paper, said: “Children whose parents remain marriedthroughout 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.”

The report, which was funded by the Government’s Economic and Social Research Council, found the long-term damage of divorce on children was the same across different generations.

Impact

It said this suggests that “as divorceand separation have become more common, their impact on mental health has not reduced.”

The research also showed that children who have secure routines, such as being read to by their parents, are more likely to be ready for school.

This comes as recent figures show almost half of British children are no longer living with both their parents by the time they reach their 15th birthday.

And US research revealed that children always suffer from divorce, even if the split was ‘amicable.’

Related Resources