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Couples With Differently Abled Kids Not More Prone To Divorce

Update Date: Nov 03, 2015 11:53 AM EST
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Those couples who have a child facing developmental disabilities are not necessarily open to divorce if they get more children, according to sciencedaily.

Surprisingly, couples who have just one child without disability tend to have the lowest risk of divorce, according to researchers from the Waisman Centre at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in US. However, the risk increases with every successive child.

On the other hand, parents of children with developmental disabilities face less risk of divorce, even as their family size increases.

Even as parents of disabled children face a number of challenges and rewards, they experience more stress compared to others who raise developing children.

Scientists have used the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS) for research. It followed over 10,000 men and women who graduated from Wisconsin high schools in 1957. Some of their siblings were followed for more than 50 years, leading to a "rich and, more importantly, truly random sample".

The researchers studied 190 parents with children showing developmental disabilities, such as "autism spectrum disorders, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and unspecified intellectual disabilities".

Hence, there has been "a conception that, in general, parents of children with disabilities are more likely to experience divorce, and we wanted to test that assumption," said first author Eun Ha Namkung, a graduate student at the Waisman Centre's Lifespan Family Research Programme.

Those couples who have developing children that volunteer to support their siblings with developmental disabilities tend to face less stress. This can counter the effects of family size on divorce rates, according to ndtv.

"Our results clearly show that the effects of having additional children are different for families of individuals with developmental disabilities compared to the effects on the general population and suggest that other children in the family may be a vital support system for parents coping with the care of a child with a developmental disability," said Namkung.

Hence, about 22 per cent of parents who have a child exhibiting developmental disability tend to split. Other parents in the comparison group show 20 per cent undergoing divorce, which is not really a major difference.

The study was published in the American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

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