The link between parental divorce and adult depression

A longitudinal study found high levels of depression in women of divorced parents, but not in men. In childhood there had been few behavioural differences between girls from divorced and intact families. Subsequently, there were significant differences in job-changing during early careers, premarital pregnancy, and own marital breakdown. Greater adult depression was not attributable to social networks, emotional support, recent life events, financial circumstances or the main effect of marital status. A significant interaction reflected little relationship between parental divorce and symptoms for women in first marriages, but a strong relationship in the never married, divorced, and remarried.

NH&MRC Social Psychiatry Research Unit, Australian National University, Canberra.

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