January 21, 2011
Researchers from the University of Toronto said Wednesday that they had studied 6,647 adults, including almost 700 who had been under the age of 18 when their parents divorced and found men from divorced families were three times more likely to have seriously considered suicide than adult males whose parents had not divorced.
Women whose parents had divorced were twice as likely to have thought about taking their own lives, according to the research published in the journal Psychiatry Research.
The reason behind why men appear more distressed by their parents' divorce than women was not determined from the study, but researchers suggested that male development may be more negatively affected by the loss of close contact with a father figure at a young age.
Lead researcher Esme Fuller-Thomson said, "The association between parental divorce and suicidal thoughts in men was unexpectedly strong, even when we adjusted for other childhood and adult stressors, socioeconomic status, depression and anxiety."
Fuller-Thomson added, "These findings are not meant to panic divorced parents. Our data in no way suggest that children of divorce are destined to become suicidal."