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Link Between Parental Divorce in Childhood and Suicidal Ideation in Adulthood

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A recent study published in the journal of Psychiatry Research shows that children from divorced families are more likely to contemplate suicide as adults, than children who grew up in homes where their parents remained married.

The researchers studied 6,657 adults, which included 695 individuals whose parents had divorced before they were 18 years old. When genders were compared, they discovered that males who came from divorced families were three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts than males who came from intact homes. Females from divorced families were 83% more likely to contemplate suicide than females whose parents had not divorced when they were children.

Adult children of divorce who also had other stressors during childhood such as unemployed parents, physically abuse, or parents who were addicted to drugs or alcohol were especially likely to have suicidal thoughts.

The connection between suicidal ideation and parental divorce was strong for men regardless of the presence of other childhood stressors. However, adult women whose parents had divorced prior to 18 whose childhood did not also include parental addiction or physical abuse were not particularly prone to having suicidal thoughts.

The researchers suggest that men from families of divorce may be more vulnerable to thoughts of suicide due to having less contact with their father after their parents were divorced.

The researchers emphasize that parents who get divorced should not panic or assume that their children will be suicidal as adults. Further research on this topic could provide valuable clinical information for mental health professionals who work with families going through divorce.

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