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Parents’ break-up more likely to harm mental health of children aged seven to 14

Research shows a 16% rise in emotional problems and 8% rise in conduct disorders

Parental separation is more likely to harm the mental health of children if they are aged at least seven when the split occurs, but appears to have no effect on the risks of them getting ill if they are younger, research has found.

The research, involving 6,245 children and young people in the UK, is the first British study to explore the links between couple separation or divorce and the impact on the mental wellbeing of children. Family break-up was already known to be one of several childhood experiences that can lead to young people developing mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

Minors aged between seven and 14 at the time of the split exhibit a 16% rise in emotional problems, such as anxiety and depressive symptoms, and an 8% increase in conduct disorders.

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