Study Addresses Long-Term Effects of Divorce on Kids

Study Addresses Long-Term Effect of Divorce on Kids

By: Gordon & Perlut, LLC

Does divorce have long-term effects on children, even once those kids reach adulthood? According to a recent study conducted by researchers at Baylor University, individuals who were in their childhood when their parents were divorced showed lower levels of oxytocin, often referred to as a ‘love hormone’ when they were older than those whose parents stayed together. The study was designed to investigate why adult kids of divorced parents have difficulty forming attachments when they are older. How reliable is the study, and what implications could it have for divorce in the meantime?

Oxytocin Levels Impacted by Early Life Experiences

The recent study out of Baylor University was published in the Journal of Comparative Psychology. As the news release from Baylor points out, the study dives into a potential link between oxytocin, childhood experience, and adult outcomes. Dr. Maria Boccia, the lead author of the study, emphasized that many studies investigating the effects of divorce on children tend to focus on shorter-term effects, such as a child’s academic performance in school.

Studies that have attempted to address the long-term effects of divorce have largely studied the effects divorce can have on an adult child’s relationships. The Baylor study is attempting to study something a little bit different. Rather than exploring the effects of divorce on a child’s relationships later in life, the new study seeks to determine “how divorce causes these effects.”

Oxytocin Levels Are Lower in Adults Whose Parents Divorced When They Were Young

As Boccia explained in the study, oxytocin is a hormone necessary to regulate these behaviors and is also affected by stressful events in the early stages of life. Boccia underscored that the study could be an initial step in understanding what systems could be involved in impacting a child’s oxytocin levels, and the role divorce plays.

The new study involved 128 subjects between the ages of 18 and 62 years old. Of the subjects, nearly 30 percent of them had parents who divorced when they were young, with an average age of 9 at the time of divorce. The researchers found that oxytocin levels were decreased in those whose parents divorced during their childhood. Boccia emphasized that more research needs to be conducted, including follow-up investigations into whether the child’s specific age at the time of the divorce makes a difference.

Seek Advice from a Chicago area Divorce Attorney

For many couples, it may not make sense to avoid divorce simply because you have children who could be affected by the dissolution of marriage. In general, it can often be more damaging for children who grow up with married parents who are in an untenable marriage than children who grow up with divorced parents who are both working to make the family situation work after a divorce. You should be aware that divorce can have both short-term and long-term effects on your children. If you have questions about the divorce process in Illinois, or if you want to begin taking steps to file for divorce, one of our experienced Chicago divorce lawyers can assist you. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC today to get started on your case.