Children of Divorce linked Heart Disease, Cancer & Diabetes

A new study from the University College London (UCL) again confirms that the social effects of divorce have life long impacts on children whose parents divorce. With data collected from 7, 462 people in the 1958 National Child Development Study, the study showed that children below 16 whose parents' divorced had 16 per cent higher levels of C-reactive protein by age 44.

C-reactive protein is an inflammatory marker found in blood samples. Long-term raised C-reactive protein is a known risk factor for diseases such as coronary heart disease, cancer and type II diabetes.

The researchers found that the link between parental divorce and later inflammation was mainly due to adolescent material disadvantages and educational attainments. For those that experienced their parent’s divorce before 16 were more likely to disadvantaged as adults. Children of divorce had lower educational qualifications compared to children whose parents were not separated.

Dr. Lacey, Associate in the UCL Department of Epidemiology and Public Health Research and lead author of the study, states  "Our study suggests that it is not parental divorce or separation per se which increases the risk of later inflammation but that it is other social disadvantages, such as how well the child does in education, which are triggered by having experienced parental divorce which are important."

The Fair Parenting Project recognizes that children with separated parents experience systemic hurdles at accessing important community services (daycare, school bus, etc.) and activities (sports, arts, music). These hurdles create conflict between a child’s two homes and prevent them from experiencing the physical, mental and social benefits.

Links:

Dr Rebecca Lacey

Full paper in the Journal of  Psychoneuroendocrinology

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