We were surprised to find that although the death of a parent during one’s childhood was usually difficult, it had no measurable impact on life-span mortality risk. The children adapted and moved on with their lives.I wonder how long it will take before some woman cites this study in order to justify her husband's murder. "I only wanted a divorce, but I had to kill him for the good of the children instead." In light of the usual family "court" metric and the infamous "he made me wear sexy shoes so I had to shoot him in the back while he was sleeping"
That was the end of the good news. Although losing one’s parent to divorce might seem better than losing a parent through death, we found the opposite. The long-term health effects of parental divorce were often devastating— it was indeed a risky circumstance that changed the pathways of many of the young Terman participants. Children from divorced families died almost five years earlier on average than children from intact families. Parental divorce, not parental death, was the risk. In fact, parental divorce during childhood was the single strongest social predictor of early death, many years into the future.
Anyhow, it's worth keeping in mind for those who find themselves in a difficult marriage. One of the things that has to go into the equation is that if one leaves, one is running the risk of taking five years off the children's lives. I also wonder how many fathers and mothers who initiated divorce would have refrained from doing so if they understood the price their children would eventually pay for it.