Long-term psychosocial effects of parental divorce: A follow- up study from adolescence to adulthood. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 256, 256-263

National Public Health Institute, Department of Mental Health and Alcohol Research, Mannerheimintie 166, 00300 Helsinki, Finland.
European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 3.53). 07/2006; 256(4):256-63. DOI: 10.1007/s00406-006-0641-y
Source: PubMed


The purpose of this 16-year follow-up study was to investigate whether 32-year-old adults who had experienced parental divorce before 16 years of age (n = 317) differed in psychosocial well-being or life trajectories from those from non-divorced two-parent families (n = 1069).
The data were obtained from a follow-up survey of a Finnish urban age cohort from the age of 16 till 32 years (n = 1471). The long-term impact of parental divorce on a variety of outcomes in adulthood, including psychological well-being, life situation, health behaviour, social networks and support, negative life events and interpersonal problems, was assessed.
Females from divorced compared to non-divorced families reported more psychological problems (higher scores in the Beck Depression Inventory, General Health Questionnaire and Psychosomatic Symptoms Score) and more problems in their interpersonal relationships. These differences were not found among males. Shorter education,unemployment, divorce, negative life events and more risky health behaviour were more common among subjects of both genders with a background of parental divorce.
The study revealed that parental divorce is an indicator of sufficient stress in childhood for its influences to persist well into adulthood, possibly with wider scope among females. It is important to recognise specific needs of children in the divorce process in order to prevent or minimize negative consequences and chain reactions during their subsequent life.

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Available from: Taina Huurre, Feb 10, 2015
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    • "The type of kin relationship between a caregiver and a child is expected to lead to no differences in child psychological well-being compared to children living with both parents. Generally, in child psychology literature a change in caregiver because of divorce has been found to negatively influence the psychological well-being of children (Amato and Cheadle, 2005; Huurre et al., 2006 "
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    ABSTRACT: Unique focus on African children who remain in origin country while parents migrate•Evaluates the psychological well-being of this population.•Bridges qualitative transnational family and quantitative child psychology studies•Identifies characteristics of transnational families that lower child well-being•Living transnationally is not always associated with negative well-being outcomes
    Social Science & Medicine 10/2014; 132. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.10.058 · 2.89 Impact Factor
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    • "There is a possibility for an indirect influence on risk behaviors of experience of parental divorce mediated by mental health problems. Several studies have found significant association between experience of parental divorce and mental health problems [19, 32, 33], which in turn was found to be associated with risk behaviors including cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption and illicit substance use [20]. Stated more precisely, parental divorce increases the likelihood of risk behaviors by increasing mental health problems in adolescents [3]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Several studies have reported an increase in risk behaviors among adolescents after experience of parental divorce. The aim of the study was to investigate whether parental divorce is associated with risk behavior among adolescents independent of mental health problems, first when early divorce was experienced, and second after experience of late parental divorce. Method: One prospective (n=1861) and one cross-sectional study (n=2422) were conducted using data from two Young-HUBRO surveys in Oslo, Norway. All 15/16 year-old 10(th) grade students who participated in the first survey in the school year 2000/01 were followed-up in 2004 when they were 18/19 year-olds. The follow-up rate was 68%. The prospective study investigated the influence of late parental divorce that occurred between the age of 15/16 and 18/19. In the cross-sectional study we focused on early parental divorce that occurred before the participants were 15/16 year-old. Results: In the prospective study we could not discern a significant association between experiencing late parental divorce and an increase in risk behaviors among 18/19 year-old adolescents. In the cross-sectional study parental divorce was significantly associated with cigarette smoking and using doping agents. Conclusion: Parental divorce that occurs when the children of divorced parents are 15/16 year-old or younger is associated with an increase in cigarette smoking and use of doping agents. However, no evidence of significant association is found between experience of late parental divorce and risk behaviors in late adolescence.
    Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health 06/2014; 10(1):29-66. DOI:10.2174/1745017901410010059
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    • "A Norwegian longitudinal study from the 1990s in Nord-Trøndelag county by Størksen et al. found that adolescents aged 13 to 19 years who experienced parental divorce had higher levels of anxiety and depression than others [3,4]. Studies from Finland found that mental distress after parental divorce prevailed into adulthood [5,6], and a recent longitudinal study from Finland by Fröjd et al. also found that adolescents who experienced change in the caretaking parent had increased internalized symptoms when compared with those who did not experience caretaker change or moved away from home [7]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Former studies have shown increased mental health problems in adolescents after parental divorce all over the Western world. We wanted to see if that still is the case in Norway today when divorce turns to be more and more common. Methods In a prospective study design, two samples were constituted, adolescents at a baseline survey in 2001/02 (n = 2422) and those at follow-up in 2003/04 (n = 1861), when the adolescents were 15/16 and 18/19 years-old, respectively. They answered self-administered questionnaires in both surveys of Young-HUBRO in Oslo. Early parental divorce was defined as that which occured before age 15/16 years, and late divorce occured between age 15/16 and 18/19. Internalized and externalized mental health problems were measured by the Hopkin’s Symptom Check List (HSCL-10) and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Results After linear regression models were adjusted for gender, ethnicity, family economy, social support, and mental health problem symptoms measured at baseline before parental divorce occured, late parental divorce did not lead to significant increase in mental health problems among adolescents in the city of Oslo. Early parental divorce was associated with internal mental health problems among young adolescents when adjusted only for the first four possible confounders. Conclusions It seems that parental divorce in late adolescence does not lead to mental health problems in Norway any more, as has been shown before, while such problems may prevail among young adolescents. This does not mean that parental divorce create less problems in late adolescence than before but these youths might have developed adjustment abilities against health effects as divorce have turned to be more common.
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