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Could parents’ divorce cause child’s future health issues?

It is not difficult to imagine that a man whose parents divorced when he was young could experience some significant emotional or psychological issues as a result of that split, such as a difficulty trusting or being intimate with someone else, or feelings of inadequacy. But could a child whose parents divorce also be at an increased risk of physical health issues as a result of that split? A new study seems to indicate that yes, parental divorce could lead to significant health issues for their children later on in life.

In the study, university researchers collected information from nearly 10,000 men and women in Las Vegas and across the United States. They found that men whose parents had divorced when they were young were much more likely to suffer a stroke than men whose parents had remained married.

Specifically, researchers found that of the 4,047 men that participated in the study, 165 of them had suffered a stroke at some point in their adult lives. Men whose parents had divorced before they turned 18 years old were three times more likely to have a stroke during adulthood than male participants whose parents did not divorce when they were children.

Researchers are not yet certain of the reasons for the association between parental divorce and stroke, although they hypothesize that it may have something to do with stress. Specifically, they think the increased stroke risk may be caused by a change in the way boys whose parents divorce deal with stress after the split.

Interestingly, the same finding was not made for the female study participants.

Source: Live Science, “Parents’ Divorce May Increase Men’s Stroke Risk,” Sept. 13, 2012

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