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Really? Kids of Divorced Parents More Likely To Have a Stroke?!

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If you are an adult child of divorced parents (or you are a divorced parent yourself), prepare to grit your teeth in frustration!

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The Los Angeles Times recently featured a study that says adult children of parents who divorced before the kids were 18 are more than twice as likely to have a stroke!

University of Toronto professor of social work Esme Fuller-Thomson, who conducted the study with colleagues Angela Dalton and Ruksha Mehta, said these hiked rates of stroke may "reflect the downstream effects of divorce's emotional toll, or the economic fallout from a parental split." After tweaking the data to consider variables such as education, gender, income, mental health diagnoses and diabetes, the link still remained. However, the study did consider the caveat that when we adults were young kids, divorce was far less common, and that the stigmas surrounding it have since all but dissolved.

Soooo ... fifty percent of American marriages end in divorce, and those who divorce with young kids are making them twice as likely to have a stroke later on in life?! This seems insane! Perhaps the climate of times past did play a considerable role in the outcome of the study, and with old-school stigmas concerning divorce long gone, children whose parents divorce today won't experience any such toll on their health.

However, this study does raise a highly personal question: Are unhappy couples raising children together any better or worse off than a pair of happier, single adults? Feel free to weigh in!


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12 comments so far | Post a comment now
Kela December 13, 2010, 8:05 AM

Hmmm…that is an interesting study. It would be interesting to see if high conflict divorce and co-parenting played an intergal role in the conclusion of this study. Divorced parents whose co-parenting style is of high-conflict and one or both live to torment each other and/or prove that they have the most power/say so over the child, clearly aren’t happy people. So for me, it isn’t a question of whether or not it is best to stay married and unhappy and raise happy children, or single and happy and raise unhappy children. Children will model their reaction and adjustment to divorce the way they see their parents doing so.

KS December 13, 2010, 9:15 AM

I too would like to know more about the parent child relationship post divorce for those studies. I have no doubt emotional struggles can affect us well into adult hood though I wonder the type of parent child relationships these people were experiencing. At any rate this is all pretty fascinating stuff.

Erica December 13, 2010, 10:10 AM

I wonder, did they include the changes in obesity, diet and increased rate of diabetes in humans over the last 20 years? If the study did not include those life changes factors then I’d think their report was off… The environment has changed greatly in the last 20 years.

Trish December 13, 2010, 10:34 AM

Seriously? I don’t buy it at all.

Anonymous December 13, 2010, 5:46 PM

Why defend divorce? Why not take this as a sign that if your parents were divorced, you need to watch out for your health.
I think other studies have found that the kids of divorced parents were less healthy than the kids of still-married parents.
Also, I don’t think you can just blame the conflicts people have with divorce, since most divorces end up ugly, especially if the parents are already fighting.

Amanda Lawrence December 14, 2010, 10:59 AM

I can believe this..

Carol December 14, 2010, 5:00 PM

This happen in Canada so I can not speak for what happens there. I will speakto what has happen here in America duringt he past 20 years. The friends that I have who had divocre parents - the father walked out. Did not keep in touch with kids except maybe a phone or visit once or twice a year. Also the did not make teir child support or alimony paymentson time or at all. It wasn’t until probablely the mid 90’s that state started taking non payments seriously, and even today if your ex lives in another state, it’s often your repsonsibility to track him down and get a current address for the courts.
So couldn’t years of living in a household that now has financial stress or poverty be a factor as well as the previous mention obesity, diabetes (a big contributor to strokes)?
As for me, my parents have been unhappily marriage for most of my and my siblings lives. Not a pleasant experience. The cold war, the hostility, and open ugly agruements.
A close freind of my grew up with an alcoholic parent.
I wouldn’t be surprised if either my friend or I have health consquences from our parent NOT divorcing.

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