Children's health 'worse' if staying with one parent – 'better' if custody shared

ROSIE O'DONNELL (HOLDING DAUGHTER DAKOTA)Children who live with both parents after a divorce are less likely to develop health issues, a new study suggests.

Researchers from Sweden examined data from almost 150,000 children who were either 12 or 15 years old. Sixty-nine per cent of them lived with married parents, 19 per cent spent time living with both parents and 13 per cent lived in a single parent household.

These living situations were compared against rates of “psychosomatic health problems”, such astrouble sleeping, loss of appetite, headaches, tension and sadness. The data showed that children who lived with married parents had the fewest instances of such problems.

Meanwhile, children of divorce who live with both parents exhibit significantly fewer of these problems than those who only live with one parent.

Study author Malin Bergström is a researcher at the Centre for Health Equity Studies in Stockholm. She said that while many may have “assumed that these children should be more stressed”, their research seems to contradict this conventional wisdom.

“Having everyday contact with both parents seems to be more important, in terms of stress, than living in two different homes”, she added.

There were higher instances of psychosomatic problems among girls, with sadness identified as the most common. However, the biggest problem among children regardless of gender was trouble sleeping.

The study was published in the latest edition of the academic Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health

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