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Health of children incentive to play nice during divorce

A recent study published by Carnegie Mellon University showed that children who had to endure messy divorces have a higher chance of catching a cold later in life. University researchers exposed over 200 adults with the cold virus to determine if stressful childhoods affect immune systems into adulthood.

What the researchers discovered was surprising. As many as 40 years later, adults who had stressful childhoods were found to be more susceptible to catching a cold. Adults whose parents had separated and were not speaking with one another had triple the chance of getting a cold. The higher risk of getting a cold was partly associated with an elevated level of inflammation following viral infection.

According to doctors, when we suffer stressful experiences in childhood, it can affect our physiology in a way that leads to poorer health and chronic health issues later in life. For some time, researchers have been aware that the children of divorced parents had a higher chance of health problems, but until this more recent finding, researchers didn't know any further details with certainty.

This research implies that parents who manage to get along during and after their divorce process will have children who are likely to be healthier physically. If this isn't enough reason to inspire parents who might fight to make a concerted effort to get along, it's not clear what might motivate parents to do so.

One of the best ways for parents to navigate their divorces and child custody proceedings in a peaceful fashion is through divorce mediation. Divorce mediation can help parents save money, time and prevent emotional headaches when it comes to the dissolution of their marriages.

Source:, "Children of messy divorces three times as likely to catch a cold," Laura Donnelly, accessed June 08, 2017

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