World Mental Healthcare Association

Study Reveals Divorced Parents’ Dispute Results In Childhood Mental Illness

Childhood Mental Illness
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A recent study has reported that when children witness severe conflict between their divorced or separated parents, they are at risk of suffering from mental health problems. In 2009, only 29% of African-American children lived with their married biological parents while 50 percent were living in single-mother homes. Additionally, children with divorced parents scored lower on self-concept and social relations along with experiencing worsened anxiety and depression.

In a study with 559 children (ages 9–18), researchers examined two things. First, they wanted to understand whether abandonment interfered with the connection between post-divorce interparental conflict (IPC) and mental health problems. Second, researchers wanted to evaluate whether the parent-child relationship status modified the association between IPC and fear of abandonment. Mediation analyses showed that during the preliminary trial, IPC predicted fear of abandonment among children 3 months post-separation followed by mental health problems 10 months later. Also, the hypothesized guarding effect of a high‐quality parent-child relationship was not observed. IPC prophesied fear of abandonment for all children, except for the ones with poor and average‐quality father-child relationships. Additionally, the findings also promoted the requirement to optimize child coping programs along with improved parenting‐after‐divorce programs to reduce IPC.

To Know More, You May Refer To:

Karey L. O’Hara, C. Aubrey Rhodes, Sharlene A. Wolchik, Irwin N. Sandler, Jenn Yun‐Tein. Longitudinal Effects of PostDivorce Interparental Conflict on Children’s Mental Health Problems Through Fear of Abandonment: Does Parenting Quality Play a Buffering Role? Child Development, Jan. 12, 2021; DOI: 10.1111/cdev.13539