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
    • "The possibility of developing or maintaining mental health problems in emerging adulthood may be exacerbated within women from divorced families, because there is evidence of an increased risk of depressive symptoms in individuals from divorced family backgrounds (Amato and Sobolewski 2001; Huurre et al. 2006; Wallerstein and Lewis 2004). The divorce literature includes many studies on the effects of divorce (Afifi and McManus 2010; Cartwright and McDowell 2008; Hetherington 1999; Huurre et al. 2006; see Kushner 2009, for a review), with much of the focus on the negative effects of parental divorce on children, adolescents, and adult children of divorce (Amato and Cheadle 2005; Amato and Sobolewski 2001; Huurre et al. 2006; Oldehinkel et al. 2008). Much research supports the idea that divorce leads to negative consequences, including an increased risk of depressive symptoms and other adjustment issues in adulthood (Amato and Sobolewski 2001; Huurre et al. 2006; Wallerstein and Lewis 2004). "
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between hardiness, well-being, and depressive symptoms among women in emerging adulthood (18-29 years old) from two groups (parental divorce group, intact family group). Individuals (192 females) from a parental divorce group and individuals (126 females) from an intact family group completed the Dispositional Resilience Scale, the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, and a short version of the Children’s Perception of Interparental Conflict Scale. As hypothesized, women from the parental divorce group who scored higher on commitment, control, and challenge (hardiness variables) reported more well-being and less depressive symptoms than those who scored lower on these variables. Womens’ hardiness variables explained between 21 and 35 % of the variance in well-being and depressive symptoms for both groups. Women from the parental divorce group showed no difference in scores on well-being and depressive symptoms than those from intact families.
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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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    • "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.
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