The mental and physical health of children is always at risk when family breakups occur, but a new study shows that girls may be at higher risk of negative effects from the breakup than boys are. There are a number of long term negative consequences when children experience a family breakup and researchers from the University of Illinois have concluded that the fragmentation of the family typically affects girls more than boys. Research has shown that both genders can have mental and physical health problems as adults when their families fragmented during childhood. The new research shows the same thing except that it reveals that girls often have more severe issues with smoking, depression, and overall health outcomes as a result. The research study results can be found in the Review of Economics of the Household journal.
The new study findings on the impact that family breakups can have on the mental and physical health of girls, and children in general, could help identify additional support methods which could change the outcome. The study involved more than 7,500 teens between the age of 15 and 18 years old. University of Illinois economist Dr Andrea Beller explained “Girls’ health is more sensitive to family structure. Prior research shows that family breakups affect boys more than girls through cognitive, educational, and emotional channels. We find that, if you grow up in a non-traditional family structure — single parent or step-parent or a cohabiting relationship —girls are more likely than boys to be depressed and report worse overall health.”