In comparison to boys, girls are more affected in a family break-up, finds a research from University of Illinois. Family break-up can have lead to smoking, depression and deteriorate overall health of children, said the researchers.
In the study, the researchers have assessed data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (ADD Health). The data was from 90,000 teenagers in four waves over 13 years. The researchers selected the first sample of data in 1996 from 7,607 individuals aged 15 to 18 and collected three further waves of data taking the last set of data in 2009. Selection was made from being a single-mother home.
From the original 1996 data collection, 4,757 of the individuals’ data was taken into consideration in 2009. At that time, the children were aged between 27 and 32. The researchers looked at healthy effects on children as well as into adulthood.
After assessing the data, the researchers came to know that girls were more likely to be depressed and report worse conditions than boys. The researchers also noticed that age was also an important factor leading to negative effects of a family break-up.
Study’s lead author Andrea Beller said that if the biological father was not present ever then smoking, physical and mental health are worse. If the fathers leave when girls are in very early childhood, an association was found with worse physical health.
Girls aged between six and 10 are especially vulnerable. With the absence of father there is a long-term negative effect on smoking behavior, overall health and depression. There was negative effect on physical and mental health as well.
Stopping smoking is harder for those whose father was absent during childhood. A Swedish study published earlier this year has found that children of separated parents experience more psychosomatic health problems than children living with both parents.