Parental divorce: effects on individual behavior and longevity.
Using an archival prospective design, the authors studied associations among parental divorce occurring during participants' childhood, adult psychosocial mediators, and mortality over the life span of a subgroup of participants (N = 1,261) in the Terman Life Cycle Study (1921-1991). Children from divorced families grew up to show a higher risk of premature mortality across the life span. The higher mortality risk for men was explained, in part, when 3 mediating factors were controlled: Men who had experienced parental divorce were more likely to have their own marriages end in divorce, obtained less education, and engaged in fewer service activities. Women who had experienced parental divorce smoked more and were more likely themselves to divorce, both of which predicted higher mortality risk. The findings extend previous work on the negative sequelae of parental divorce to long-term effects on personality and longevity.
Tucker, JS; Friedman, HS; Schwartz, JE; Criqui, MH; Tomlinson-Keasey, C; Wingard, DL; Martin, LR
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