Conflict between divorced parents can lead to mental health problems in children, study finds
A new study from the Arizona State University Research and Education Advancing Children's Health (REACH) Institute has found that children experience fear of being abandoned when their divorced or separated parents engage in conflict. Worrying about being abandoned predicted future mental health problems in children. The work will be published in Child Development on January 12.
"Conflict is a salient stressor for kids, and the link between exposure to interparental conflict and mental health problems in children is well established across all family types -- married, cohabitating, separated and divorced," said Karey O'Hara, a research assistant professor of psychology at ASU and first author on the paper. "Conflict between divorced or separated parents predicted children experiencing fear that they would be abandoned by one or both parents. This feeling was associated with future mental health problems, especially for those who had strong relationships with their fathers."