EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH
Agnete S. Dissing Nadya Dich Anne-Marie Nybo Andersen Rikke Lund Naja H Rod
European Journal of Public Health, Volume 27, Issue 5, 1 October 2017, Pages 829–834,
Children who experience parental break-up have higher stress levels, also many years after the break-up, and those living in a single parent household post break-up seem to be most vulnerable. Children who were satisfied with their living arrangements post-break-up reported the same stress level as children living in intact families.
Parental break-up is wide spread, and the effects of parental break-up on children’s well-being are known. The evidence regarding child age at break-up and subsequent family arrangements is inconclusive. Aim: to estimate the effects of parental break-up on stress in pre-adolescent children with a specific focus on age at break-up and post-breakup family arrangements.
The study uses data from the Danish National Birth Cohort. Participants included 44 509 children followed from birth to age 11. Stress was self-reported by children at age 11, when the children also reported on parental break-up and post break-up family arrangements.
Twenty-one percent of the children had experienced a parental break-up at age 11, and those who had experienced parental break-up showed a higher risk of stress (OR:1.72, 95%CI:1.55;1.91) regardless of the child’s age at break-up. Children living in a new family with stepparents (OR = 1.63, 95%CI:1.38;1.92), or shared between the parents (OR = 1.48, 95%CI:1.26;1.75) reported higher stress than children of intact families. Single parent families reported markedly higher stress levels than children in intact families (OR = 2.18, 95%CI:1.90;2.50) and all other family types. Children who were satisfied with their living arrangements post-break-up reported the same stress level as children living in intact families (OR = 1.01, 95%CI:0.86;1.18).