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Kids with Divorced Parents Double Stroke Risk as Adults

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Kids whose parents divorce are found to be at twice the risk of having a stroke in adulthood. The findings, presented at the Gerontological Society of America’s (GSA) 63rd Annual Scientific Meeting showed the chances of stroke are higher even after adjusting for other risk factors like obesity, smoking, and exercise and alcohol consumption.

Stroke 2.2 Times Higher from Parental Divorce in Childhood

The findings come from a 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey that included more than 13,000 people. The researchers still found a 2.2 percent higher chance of stroke from parental divorce in childhood after adjusting for age, gender and race.

The study respondents included 13,134 individuals, 10.4 percent of whom reported they parents had divorced in childhood – 1.9 percent said they had a stroke at some point in their lives.

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Other controlled adjustments included socioeconomic status and other untoward mental health experiences in childhood, but the scientists still found the link between parental divorce in childhood and increased odds of having a stroke in adulthood.

The analysis was conducted by Esme Fuller-Thomson, PhD, and a team of colleagues at the University of Toronto who says, “We were very surprised that the association between parental divorce and stroke remained so strong even after we had adjusted for smoking, obesity, exercise and alcohol consumption,” said Fuller-Thomson.

Identifying stroke risk factors that is now observationally linked to experiencing parental divorce in childhood. could have public health implications worth exploring.

The Gerontological Society Press Room