Age of children at time of parents' divorce significant for later use of antidepressants: study

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-23 20:04:51|Editor: xuxin
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OSLO, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- A new study showed that children between 15 and 19 years of age at the time of parents' divorce are less likely to use antidepressants as adults than children under the age of 4, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) revealed on Wednesday.

In today's Norway, divorces are common and there is a 40-percent probability of Norwegian marriages being dissolved, the report said.

"There have been many analyses of how separation between parents affects the children, but there is very much we do not know. In this study we have investigated whether the children's age at the time of (parents') divorce affects their later use of antidepressants," said Oystein Kravdal, leader of research at the FHI's Center for Fertility and Health.

The study that compared siblings showed that children who experience parents' divorce at 0-4 years of age have a 12 percent higher probability of using antidepressants in adulthood than children who experience divorce when they are 15-19 years of age, and 19 percent more compared to those at 20 years of age.

According to Kravdal, children who experience this situation at a very young age live with stress caused by the divorce through a longer part of their childhood than those who, for example, experience the divorce when they are in their late teens.

Another explanation of difference in use of antidepressants may be that younger children can perceive the stress as heavier or can experience extraordinary consequences for mental health in the long term.

The results of the study, however, do not necessarily mean that a divorce should be postponed until the children have grown older, Kravdal stressed.

"If we imagine that the parents wait with the divorce until the 10-year-old is 15, the child will live an even longer period with parents who have an unsatisfactory marriage," he said.