Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Canadian Study Suggests Most Harm to a Child's Mental Health May Occur Years Before Divorce

The most harm to a child's mental health takes place in the years before parents split up, according to a University of Alberta study that suggests staying together for the sake of the kids is not always the right choice. "Perhaps we should pay more attention to what happens to kids in the period leading up to parental divorce rather than directing all our efforts to helping children after the event occurs," said Dr. Lisa Strohschein, from the U of A's Department of Sociology. "For example, levels of child antisocial behaviour actually drop following parental divorce for kids living in highly dysfunctional families." She found that kids whose parents eventually divorce displayed higher levels of anxiety/depression and antisocial behavior than kids whose parents stay married. She also found that, compared to parents who remain married, parents who divorce tend to be younger at initial interview and report higher levels of family dysfunction and depression, and lower levels of marital satisfaction. These characteristics, which put them at risk of divorce, are also associated with child mental health. Her work is published in the current edition of the Journal of Marriage and Family. Source: Medical News Today, nedicalnewstoday.com. For more information, please click here (last visited December 14, 2005, reo).

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