UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Parental separation and adult psychological distress: an investigation of material and relational mechanisms

Lacey, RE; Bartley, M; Pikhart, H; Stafford, M; Cable, N; (2014) Parental separation and adult psychological distress: an investigation of material and relational mechanisms. BMC Public Health , 14 , Article 272. 10.1186/1471-2458-14-272. Green open access

[thumbnail of 1471-2458-14-272.pdf]
Preview
PDF
1471-2458-14-272.pdf
Available under License : See the attached licence file.

Download (246kB)

Abstract

Background: An association between parental separation or divorce occurring in childhood and increased psychological distress in adulthood is well established. However relatively little is known about why this association exists and how the mechanisms might differ for men and women. We investigate why this association exists, focussing on material and relational mechanisms and in particular on the way in which these link across the life course. Methods: This study used the 1970 British Cohort Study (n = 10,714) to investigate material (through adolescent and adult material disadvantage, and educational attainment) and relational (through parent–child relationship quality and adult partnership status) pathways between parental separation (0–16 years) and psychological distress (30 years). Psychological distress was measured using Rutter’s Malaise Inventory. The inter-linkages between these two broad mechanisms across the life course were also investigated. Missing data were multiply imputed by chained equations. Path analysis was used to explicitly model prospectively-collected measures across the life course, therefore methodologically extending previous work. Results: Material and relational pathways partially explained the association between parental separation in childhood and adult psychological distress (indirect effect = 33.3% men; 60.0% women). The mechanisms were different for men and women, for instance adult partnership status was found to be more important for men. Material and relational factors were found to interlink across the life course. Mechanisms acting through educational attainment were found to be particularly important. Conclusions: This study begins to disentangle the mechanisms between parental separation in childhood and adult psychological distress. Interventions which aim to support children through education, in particular, are likely to be particularly beneficial for later psychological health.

Type: Article
Title: Parental separation and adult psychological distress: an investigation of material and relational mechanisms
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-272
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-14-272
Language: English
Additional information: © 2014 Lacey et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Keywords: Divorce, Material disadvantage, Parent–child relationships, Psychological distress, British cohort study
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1425276
Downloads since deposit
178Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item