The Effect of Parental Divorce on the Offspring's Adult Health

Jason R. Thomas, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Robin S. Hognas, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The effects of parental divorce on offspring have been shown to stretch from early childhood, through adolescence, and into the adulthood. Moreover, the list of outcomes for children that are negatively effected by the divorce of their parents ranges widely from academic and socioeconomic attainment to psychological well-being to the stability of their own romantic relationships and childbearing experiences. Given the numerous outcomes involved and the associated implications for life course trajectories, it is plausible that the long arm of parental divorce reaches into the adult years of the offspring to affect their health. We test this hypothesis using longitudinal data collected from a British cohort observed several times during their lives starting from birth, and ending with the most recent round when they reached age 50. A structure equation model is used to map the various pathways through which parental divorce can affect the health of the adult offspring.

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Presented in Session 74: Families and Well-Being among Older Adults