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Divorce Studies Reveal Physical Effects on ChildrenFor decades researches, both clinical and academic, have done extensive research on the psychological effects of divorce on children. Since divorce rose to social prominence in the 1970’s, various viewpoints have been discussed as to just what the nature of these effects, both in the short term and long term, are. Recently, studies have been looking down different paths at the effects divorce may have on children throughout their lifetime. Is it possible that the effects of a divorce on children can have physical repercussions later in life? The results, while still in the infancy stage, may surprise.

The Mind Body Correlation

With the increase of methodologies, the scope of studies on the effects of divorce on children has broadened to new horizons in the past decade. A precursor or ancillary idea to this is the long studied notion that stress can take a physical toll on the body. Research on the effects of divorce on children has been ongoing for the past 30 years. A prominent study, released in 2004, made headway by thinking of the possible physical effects children of divorced families could be susceptible to later on in life. The study entitled“What are the costs of marital conflict and dissolution to children’s physical health?” addresses the notion of how early environmental problems (divorce) may trigger risks that result in poor childhood health and leave these same children more susceptible to chronic health problems later on. While admitting that further investigations are needed to delve deeper into other factors like genetics and physical environment, the study hypothesizes that:

“Consequential to the stresses associated with marital conflict and disruption, parenting practices are compromised, leading to offspring deficits in affective, behavioral, and cognitive domains. These deficits, in turn, are hypothesized to increase health risk through poor health behaviors and by altering physiological stress-response systems, including neuroendocrine, cardiovascular, and neurotransmitter functioning.”

The Stroke Dealt by Divorce

Soon, this study will be published in International Journal of Stroke. In this study scientists took data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, and studied a certain population’s health records to find out just if and how much the role of divorce could affect the likelihood of a stroke. The researchers excluded any patient who reported childhood abuse or whose parents were chronic substance abusers. Within these subjects they also looked at a wide variety of external factors, including education levels, obesity, income level, physical activity, marital status, and mental health issues, among others.

Their conclusion should be viewed as tentative, but studies like these continue to point to signs of how damaging and long lasting effects of divorce can be on children. Even drilling down through all the factors mentioned in the paragraph above, they concluded that divorce still can increase the likelihood of a stroke by 3 times in men. However, no conclusive change was found in women.

While there is need for further studies and data to be collected, it gives us yet another glimpse into how damaging filing for divorce can be. Logically, looking at the fracturing of a family through a young child’s mind we can understand the far reaching affects and possibilities of effects that children may carry through their lifetime.  It brings clarity to parents who are divorced, separated, or even thinking about separating to understand what exactly the repercussions of their decisions are, and how they could impact everyone involved, especially in children.

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