Adults whose parents separated during their childhood have an increased risk for poorer health, but experts haven’t understood why.
The findings of a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences show that adults whose parents separated and didn’t speak to each other during their childhoods were three times as likely to develop a cold when intentionally exposed to a common cold virus than adults whose parents had remained together or separated but continued to communicate.
“…family stress during childhood may influence a child’s susceptibility to disease 20-40 years later.”
“Early life stressful experiences do something to our physiology and inflammatory processes that increase risk for poorer health and chronic illness,” says Michael Murphy, a psychology postdoctoral research associate in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University.
“This work is a step forward in our understanding of how family stress during childhood may influence a child’s susceptibility to disease 20-40 years later.”
For the study, researchers quarantined 201 healthy adults experimentally exposed them to a virus that causes a common cold, and monitored them for five days for the development of a respiratory illness.
Adults whose parents lived apart and never spoke during their childhood were more than three times as likely to develop a cold compared to those from intact families. The increased risk was due, in part, to heightened inflammation in response to a viral infection.
There was no increased risk for people whose parents were separated when they were children but communicated with each other.
“Our results target the immune system as an important carrier of the long-term negative impact of early family conflict,” says Sheldon Cohen, professor of psychology. “They also suggest that all divorces are not equal, with continued communication between parents buffering deleterious effects of separation on the health trajectories of the children.”
The National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Institutes of Health, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health funded the research.
Source: Carnegie Mellon University
Talking to Children About Divorce: A Parent's Guide to Healthy Communication at Each Stage of Divorce
Studio: Althea Press
Label: Althea Press
Publisher: Althea Press
Manufacturer: Althea Press
Marriage and family therapist Jean McBride has helped over 20,000 families navigate divorce. Now she shares her expertise with an in-depth guide to discussing divorce with your kids so you can support your child’s adjustment throughout the entire divorce process.
In Talking to Children About Divorce, Jean McBride provides you with the tools and encouragement to effectively communicate with your child about divorce. McBride brings her more than twenty-five years of specializing in divorce to guide you through crucial but difficult conversations and cultivate an environment of love and support throughout the divorce process. You’ll learn how to have honest conversations about different situations and emotions that may arise during divorce―from breaking the news to understanding resistance.
Whether you’re beginning the divorce process, or have been working through it for a while, Talking to Children About Divorce offers practical advice that will contribute positively to your child’s emotional wellbeing.
Learn to initiate open communication, with:
- Concrete actions to help your children weather the emotions of divorce.
- Useful scripts to guide you through a variety of situations throughout the divorce process.
- Simple steps to improve communication, both with your former spouse and with your children.
- 10 tips to maintain co-parenting success and promote healthy, happy, well-adjusted children.
The breakup of a family can have an enduring impact on children. But as Dr. JoAnne Pedro-Carroll explains with clarity and compassion in this powerful book, parents can positively alter the immediate and long-term effects of divorce on their children. The key is proven, emotionally intelligent parenting strategies that promote children's emotional health, resilience, and ability to lead satisfying lives.
Over the past three decades, Pedro-Carroll has worked with families in transition, conducted research, and developed and directed award- winning, court-endorsed programs that have helped thousands of families navigate divorce and its aftermath. Now she shares practical, research-based advice that helps parents:
-gain a deeper understanding of what their children are experiencing
-develop emotionally intelligent parenting strategies with the critical combination of boundless love and appropriate limits on behavior
-reduce conflict with a former spouse and protect children from conflict's damaging effects
-learn what recent brain research reveals about stress and children's developing capabilities
Filled with the voices and drawings of children and the stories of families, Putting Children First delivers a positive vision for a future of hope and healing.
- Plume Books
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• Why it is so hard to really make divorce work
• How anger and fighting can keep people from really separating
• Why legal matters should be one of the last tasks
• Why parental love—and limit setting—can be the best “therapy” for kids
• How to talk to children, create workable parenting schedules, and more