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Grown-up children of divorce: Experiences and health
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry . Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The comprehensive purpose of the thesis was to study the health and experiences, with a main focus on mental health, of a group of grown-up children of divorced parents in comparison to a group of persons without this experience. Mental health, experienced life events, narratives of divorce related experiences and personal resources were therefore examined in a group of young adults (age 22-33 years) whose parents divorced 15 years before the start of the first three studies. In addition to this, the presence of a child/adolescent and/or an adult psychiatric record and ten years of diagnosed physical health visits in the same but extended group (age 21-38 years) was examined 20 years after parental divorce. The outcomes of these examinations were compared with the outcomes of a group with married parents still living together, matched with the divorce group on age gender and living area. The results showed no major differences in mental health between the divorce and the non-divorce group, with the exception of women age 22-27 showing poorer mental health than the others in the study. Personal resources in this case SOC (Sense of Coherence) followed the same pattern, with no significant differences between the divorce and the non-divorce group, but with women age 22-27 showing lower SOC. The experiences/narratives told by the divorce group fell into one of two categories: one disappointment, the other contentment, with the first indicating non-optimal chances for adjustment to parental divorce and the other good. The run-through of psychiatric records showed no significant differences between the number of persons in need of adult psychiatric care in the divorce and the non-divorce group. A significant difference was present, however, in child- and adolescent psychiatric care pointing to a larger need for psychiatric care in the divorce group, a need most pronounced among girls. As concerned the number of diagnosed physical health care visits, only small differences between the groups were found. The main conclusion of the study was that experience of parental divorce in childhood is not found for a majority to be an experience determining poorer mental or somatic health in young adulthood.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press , 2010. , 58 p.
Series
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 1173
Keyword [en]
Parental divorce, mental health, somtic health, narratives
National Category
Psychiatry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-54630ISBN: 978-91-7393-428-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-54630DiVA: diva2:306061
Public defence
2010-04-29, Berzeliussalen, Hälsouniversitetet, Campus US, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 09:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-03-30 Created: 2010-03-26 Last updated: 2010-03-30Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Fifteen years after parental divorce: mental health and experienced life-events
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Fifteen years after parental divorce: mental health and experienced life-events
2009 (English)In: Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, ISSN 0803-9488, Vol. 63, no 1, 32-43 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The children who experienced their parents divorce when the divorce rate in Sweden had begun to grow to higher levels than in preceding decades are today adults. The aim of this study was to investigate if adults who had experienced parental divorce 15 years before the time of our study, differed in mental health from those with continuously married parents, taking into account life events other than the divorce. Instruments used were the Symptom Checklist (SCL-90) measuring mental health and the Life Event questionnaire capturing the number and experience of occurred events. Forty-eight persons, who were 7-18 years old when their parents divorced, constituted the divorce group, and 48 persons matched on age, sex and growth environment formed the study groups. The SCL-90 showed a limited difference between the groups, but not concerning total mental health. A main finding was a difference with regard to sex and age; women aged 22-27 in the divorce group displayed poorer mental health than other participants in both groups. The results from the Life Event questionnaire showed that the divorce group had experienced a significantly larger number of events, and more life events were described as negative with difficult adjustment. A regression analysis showed a significant relation between the SCL-90, Global Severity Index and life events experienced as negative with difficult adjustment, divorce events excluded, but not with the divorce itself. It seems highly desirable to pay more attention than has thus far been paid to girls with experience of childhood divorce at age 7-12.

Keyword
Age differences, Gender differences, Life-events, Mental well-being, Parental divorce
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-16725 (URN)10.1080/08039480802098386 (DOI)
Note
This is an electronic version of an article published in: Teresia Ängarne-Lindberg and Marie Wadsby, Fifteen years after parental divorce: mental health and experienced life-events, 2009, NORDIC JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY, (63), 1, 32-43. NORDIC JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY is available online at informaworldTM: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08039480802098386 Copyright: Taylor & Francis http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/default.asp Available from: 2009-02-26 Created: 2009-02-13 Last updated: 2010-03-30Bibliographically approved
2. Sense of coherence in young adults with and without childhood experience of parental divorce
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sense of coherence in young adults with and without childhood experience of parental divorce
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Aim: A number of studies show variability in children’s response to parental divorce. The intent of the present study was to look at personal resources as one possible factor explaining differences in mental health among young adults with childhood experience of parental divorce. This factor is examined by also taking into account the effect of traumatic experiences other than the possibly traumatic parental divorce. Method:  A group of persons with childhood experience of parental divorce (divorce group) was compared to a group without this experience, a non-divorce group consisting of persons of the same gender and age and living in the same locations as those in the divorce group. Personal resources were defined in this study as “Sense of Coherence” (SOC) measured with SOC-29, and mental health was assessed by the SCL-90 index General Severity Index (GSI). Traumatic life events were accounted for by using Life Incidence of Traumatic Events (LITE). Results: The results showed a significant connection between a strong SOC-29 and good mental health SCL-90/GSI, but no significant connection between SOC-29 and LITE, and the same pattern was seen in both the divorce and the non-divorce group. Conclusion: Personal resources measured as strong sense of coherence seem to be important in retaining a good mental health and the capacity to deal with life incidences such as parental divorce.

.                                                                                                                           

Keyword
Parental divorce, personal resourses, mental health, traumatic life events
National Category
Psychiatry
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-54626 (URN)
Projects
Grown-up children of divorce: Experiences and health
Available from: 2010-03-26 Created: 2010-03-26 Last updated: 2010-03-26
3. Young adults with childhood experience of parental divorce: Disappointment and contentment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Young adults with childhood experience of parental divorce: Disappointment and contentment
2009 (English)In: Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, ISSN 1050-2556, Vol. 50, no 3, 172-184 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study was to use in-depth interviews to identify and describe experiences of parental divorce among adult children whose parents divorced 15 years earlier. Ten out of 76 interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim, and data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Two categories of experiences were identified: disappointment and contentment. Two subcategories of disappointment were distinguished: disappointment toward mother, father, or both, and disappointment with relatives and other surrounding persons. Four subcategories of contentment were distinguished: contentment in the belief that the members of the original family received a good or even better life after the divorce, contentment with how the divorce was handled by the parents, contentment and inner strength as a part of the child's own personality, and contentment with receiving adequate help during and after the parental divorce.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2009
Keyword
Parental divorce, qualitative content analysis, disappointment, contentment
National Category
Psychiatry
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-54627 (URN)10.1080/10502550902717749 (DOI)
Projects
Grown-up children of divorce: Expereinces and health
Available from: 2010-03-26 Created: 2010-03-26 Last updated: 2014-01-10Bibliographically approved
4. Psychiatric and somatic health in relation to expereince of parental divorce in childhood
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Psychiatric and somatic health in relation to expereince of parental divorce in childhood
2012 (English)In: International Journal of Social Psychiatry, ISSN 0020-7640, E-ISSN 1741-2854, Vol. 58, no 1, 16-25 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: The outcome of studies about experience of parental divorce and effects on mental and physical health differs in result possibly caused by the use of different questionnaires and instruments, varying length of time since the divorce and divergent drop-off of participants.

Aims: To study the presence of psychiatric records and number of diagnosed somatic and mental health care visits in a group of young adults with childhood experience of parental divorce in comparison to a group without this experience.

Methods: The presence of a record at the public psychiatric clinics and ten years of administrative health care data (somatic and mental) was checked for both groups.

Results: Significantly more persons from the divorce group occurred in child and adolescent psychiatric care, most pronounced women. However, no significant difference between the groups in number of persons seeking adult psychiatry, or in number of psychiatric consultations was present. Experience of parental divorce was not either found to be an indicator of larger somatic health problems.

Conclusion: Experience of parental divorce in childhood is not an indicator of adult psychiatric or somatic need of care.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2012
Keyword
Somatic health, parental divorce, psychiatric records
National Category
Psychiatry
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-54628 (URN)10.1177/0020764010382372 (DOI)000297867400002 ()
Projects
Grown-up children of divorce: Expereinces and health
Available from: 2010-03-26 Created: 2010-03-26 Last updated: 2012-02-03

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