The researchers have found a relationship between inflammatory marker in the blood which is known to predict future health and divorces. They have found that people who experience parental divorce during childhood have higher levels of an inflammatory marker in the blood.
The study at the UCL was based on the data from 7,462 people in the 1958 National Child Development Study, an on-going longitudinal study which has followed a large group of people since their birth in 1958. It was found that children who experienced the breakdown in their parent's relationship before the age of 16, regardless of whether their parents were married or not, had 16 percent higher levels of C-reactive protein at age 44.
C-reactive protein is a marker of inflammation measured in blood samples. Long-term raised C-reactive protein is a known risk factor for diseases such as coronary heart disease and type II diabetes.
The authors also looked at why this relationship might exist. They believed it as an adolescent material disadvantage and educational attainment, although the specific mechanisms remain unclear. Moreover, those who experienced parental separation before the age of 16 were more likely to be materially disadvantaged in adolescence and had lower educational qualifications by adulthood, compared to children who grew up with both parents.
The detailed study is published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.
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