Divorce continue to contribute negative outcomes for children
Kids whose parents divorced before their 21st birthday died four years earlier than those whose parents stayed together.
“In the early 1920s, a list of exceptionally bright children was assembled for a study about growing up as a genius,” a Straits Times article begins. “These individuals became known to psychologists, affectionately, as the ‘termites,’ after Professor Frederick Terman, the Stanford researcher who began the study.”
Sadly, a majority of these children died.
According to their death certificates, those children whose parents divorced before their 21st birthday died four years earlier than those kids whose parents stayed together until at least that point.
Males typically lived to 76 years instead of 80, while females lived to 82 instead of 86.
Reducing the longevity among termites revealed that divorce may be affecting children in the long run.
Many factors come into play when it comes to couples divorcing, such as a woman’s educational attainment, the age at which couples marry (younger couples tend to be more prone to divorcing).
But a common denominator of all these factors is the stress both parties experience.
In a Swedish study, researchers have interviewed Swedes born from 1892 onwards. They have been asked about the distress they’ve experienced growing up, their living arrangements, their mental issues into adulthood such as depression and insomnia.
Although many things have changed in that period—divorce becoming more acceptable, custody arrangements allowing children of divorcees to maintain relationship with both parents—Swedish kids showed no improvement in terms of their educational attainment and personal wellbeing.
Children of divorcees are also worse off than children whose parents remained together.
Another contributing factor to these less-than stellar progress can also be attributed to the income earned by parents. Lower-income families tended to do worse in school.
“But the stubbornly lower psychological well-being of Swedish divorcees' kids cannot be pinned entirely on income,” the Straits Times said.
“In short, the impact of parental divorce is often subtle and long- lasting. From the Stanford geniuses to Swedes born in the 1990s, the evidence suggests that kids whose parents have or are about to split up need more support than we realise.”