Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Child’s ADHD Increases Divorce Risk

A new study finds that parents of a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are nearly twice as likely to divorce by the time the child is 8 years old.
The study is the first to investigate this issue in depth.
Moreover, among couples in the study who were divorced, marriages involving children with ADHD ended sooner than marriages with no ADHD-diagnosed children.
William E. Pelham, Jr., Ph.D., professor of psychology and pediatrics at the University at Buffalo and director of UB’s Center for Children and Families, is senior author on the study.
Results of the study appear in the October issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.
Additional findings from a subset of divorced couples with children with ADHD showed that several characteristics within the family contribute individually to the risk of divorce: age of the child when diagnosed; race and ethnicity of the parents; severity of coexisting disorders in children with ADHD, such as oppositional-defiant disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder (CD); education levels of the parents; and a father’s antisocial behavior (trouble with the law.)
“We believe this is the first study to find that both parent and child factors individually predict the rate and time of divorce,” said William E. Pelham, Jr., Ph.D., professor of psychology and pediatrics at the University at Buffalo and director of UB’s Center for Children and Families.
“Moreover, this is the only study to demonstrate that the severity of the child’s disruptive behavior, specifically those with ODD or CD, increases the risk of divorce.
“Certainly we are not suggesting that having a child with ADHD is the only reason these marriages end in divorce,” noted Pelham.
“Disruptive child behavior likely interacts over time with other existing stress in the family to spark conflict in a marriage and, ultimately, divorce.” Wymbs’ research documents that when parents interact with an ADHD child, they are more distressed, argue with one another more and view one another as less supportive, compared to when they interact with a child without ADHD.
Data for the study was gathered from a subset of participants in a larger investigation called the Pittsburgh ADHD Longitudinal Study (PALS), which is funded by grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to Pelham and Brooke Molina, Ph.D., from the University of Pittsburgh.
Some 282 adolescents and young adults who had been diagnosed with the disorder in childhood and their parents completed a series of questionnaires and diagnostic instruments, along with individual interviews. The child’s birth date was used as the starting point of the time to divorce.
These results were compared with those from 206 demographically similar PALS participants without ADHD and their parents.

Source and More and some great related links too:
http://psychcentral.com/news/2008/10/22/childs-adhd-increases-divorce-risk/3176.html

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