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Bitter divorce can impact children’s health in adulthood

In Texas and across the country, divorce is often portrayed as a fierce battle between two sides. Yet many couples with children are now trying to change the face of divorce to be less adversarial and more peaceful.

According to USA Today, many divorced couples are working against the stereotype of ex-spouses not being able to be in the same room. By working through the feelings of hurt that a divorce brought on, many of these parents have been able to have cordial relationships that help to support their children. This may mean speaking frequently on the phone or celebrating the holidays together, even with new spouses, as one big family. Sometimes an ex-spouse moves into the same neighborhood so the kids are never too far away. This is not possible when violence or abuse was present in the marriage, but for couples who broke up and are able to move past the feelings of anger, it can benefit the children in the long run.

As Reuters reports, a new study out of Carnegie Mellon University found a link between adults who went through their parents’ acrimonious divorce as children and lower immune response. The study monitored 201 healthy adults who were exposed to a common cold virus and quarantined for five days. Researchers looked for signs of inflammation and congestion. Adults who had parents who remained married and adults whose parents divorced but remained cordial were equally likely to contract the cold virus. Adults who went through their parents’ bitter divorce, on the other hand, were more than three times as likely to have contracted the cold virus.

Although several studies have suggested a link between children of divorce and poorer health outcomes, this is the first to find that the parents’ relationship after divorce could be the factor affecting the child’s health.

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