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Study: Parental divorce can impact people’s health as they age

Divorcing Louisiana couples are understandably concerned about the impact of their break-up on their children. That’s why many couples choose mediation or collaborative divorce to reach a settlement. These methods can help couples settle custody, support and property division issues with minimal time and conflict than traditional divorce.

Parental divorce can not only negatively impact kids throughout their childhood. It can have an effect on them into adulthood. Two sociologists from American universities recently published a study of 15,000 adults in the United Kingdom. The study looked at the long-term health impacts of experiencing parental divorce at a young age. The subjects were born in 1958 and experienced a parental divorce before they were 7 years old.

The researchers linked divorce to a decline in the socioeconomic status of the family and behavioral problems in the children. They also found that children of divorce were more likely to smoke. The sociologists put forth the theory that “smoking may be a behavior adopted by children to deal with psychological and emotional stresses associated with a parental divorce.” They also found some evidence that those who experienced parental divorce as young children were more likely to report health problems by the time they were 50.

Of course, parents are generally far more aware of the effect of divorce on children now than they were half a century ago. Children’s feelings are generally taken more seriously than they were back then. However, it’s easy to get caught up in your own anger and resentment toward your estranged spouse and not realize how much your children understand about what is happening with their parents.

By working to minimize the conflict within the divorce proceedings, regardless of which divorce process you choose, you can help your children emerge from the experience with minimal emotional scarring. Your Louisiana family law attorney can likely recommend some resources to help your children deal with any psychological fallout.

Source: Institute for Family Studies, “Parental Divorce Can Have a Lasting Effect on Children’s Health,” Anna Sutherland, Dec. 31, 2015


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