Parents' Divorce May Contribute to Suicidal Thoughts
THURSDAY, Jan. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Adults who were children
when their parents divorced are more likely to seriously consider
suicide than adults who grew up in intact families, according to a
University of Toronto researchers looked at 6,647 adults,
including 695 who were younger than 18 when their parents divorced.
Their parents' divorce affected males and females differently, they
Men whose parents divorced when they were children were three
times more likely to seriously consider suicide (suicidal ideation)
than other men. Adult daughters of divorced parents were 83 percent
more likely to have suicidal thoughts than those whose parents
The connection between divorce and suicidal ideation was
particularly strong for men who grew up in families with childhood
stressors, such as physical abuse, parental addiction and parental
The link between parental divorce and suicidal ideation was no
longer significant among women who did not experience these
childhood stressors. But even without these stressors, adult men
who were children when their parents divorced still had a twofold
increased risk of suicidal ideation compared to men from intact
The study was published online Jan. 19 in the journal
The findings suggest "that the pathways linking parental divorce
to suicidal ideation are different for men and women. The
association between parental divorce and suicidal thoughts in men
was unexpectedly strong, even when we adjusted for other childhood
and adult stressors, socioeconomic status, depression and anxiety,"
lead author Esme Fuller-Thomson, of the faculty of social work and
department of family and community medicine, said in a university
"Females whose parents had divorced were not particularly vulnerable to suicidal ideation if they were not also exposed to childhood physical abuse and/or parental addictions," she said.
The research is "not meant to panic divorced parents," she added
in the release. "Our data in no way suggests that children of
divorce are destined to become suicidal."
The Nemours Foundation offers
tips for divorcing parents.
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