Parents who are divorcing need to have the welfare of their children at the forefront of their minds when going through a custody battle. While many parents are happy, or at least relieved, if they are awarded primary or joint custody, the impact that the process can have on children may not be fully realized until years later.
A new study published in the journal Public Health details an effect that even the most careful and loving parents might not have thought of: the propensity for adults whose parents divorced when they were children to smoke. The findings are quite stunning; while women whose parents divorced were nearly 40 percent more likely to smoke, the figure for men was closer to 50 percent.
Researchers were hesitant to declare a direct cause-effect relationship between divorce and smoking. In many cases, children of divorce also had lower levels of income and education as adults, making it difficult to determine the effect of those influences. However, researchers said there is a link even when taking those factors into consideration.
As with many people, researchers think that adult children of divorce become smokers in an attempt to cope with stress. It may be that people who have undergone adversity as children — such as seeing their parents divorce — are more inclined to turn to that kind of behavior. In any case, it is just one more thing that parents will need to keep in mind as they shepherd their children through a potentially difficult time in their young lives.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Divorce Research: Study Finds That Children Of Divorce Are More Likely To Smoke,” Mar. 14, 2013
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