Divorce more likely when couples have kids with ADHD
Posted Oct 22 2008 8:04am
Parents with a child that has ADHD are twice as likely to have their marriage end in divorce than couples with children that do not have the condition, according to an American psychology professor.
Dr. William Pelham, Jr of Buffalo University is internationally renowned for his treatment and research into ADHD and conducted research into this issue with colleague Dr Brian T. Wymbs.
Their results also found that certain family characteristics contributed to the risk of divorce. Individually, those factors included the age at which the child is diagnosed with ADHD, the race and ethnicity of the parents, parental education level, paternal antisocial behaviour (such as law-breaking) and severity of other disorders such as Conduct Disorder and Oppositional-Defiant Disorder.
Dr. Pelham’s study is the first of its kind to link parent and child factors as a way of predicting divorce rate and timescale. The study also highlighted how the risk of divorce increased with the severity of the disorder.
The research suggests that having a child with ADHD isn’t the only reason for divorce but interaction with a child that has the disorder places greater stress on a marriage particularly if the couple view each other as being less supportive.
The study took data that involved over 280 adolescents and young adults with the disorder from childhood and tested their parents using interviews, questionnaires and diagnostics to determine the start point of the divorce.
The largest factor that increased the risk of divorce was found to be the father’s antisocial behaviour, second to that was the mother’s level of education against the father’s.
Both researchers suggest that healthcare professionals who treat children with ADHD should observe if couples are having relationship problems and try to intervene. Divorce can prove to be extremely traumatic to a child however if the marital problems are causing the child to have difficulties in their behaviour or learning then divorce could be the best option for everyone in the family.
ADHD and relationship problems can be helped with alternative medicine and complementary therapy.