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Joint custody children 'are less sick', says new study

By Jennifer Cockerell

Published 28/04/2015

Children who live with just one parent after family break-up suffer from more problems such as headaches, stomach aches, feelings of tension and sadness than those whose parents share custody, research has found
Children who live with just one parent after family break-up suffer from more problems such as headaches, stomach aches, feelings of tension and sadness than those whose parents share custody, research has found

Children who live with just one parent after family break-up suffer from more problems such as headaches, stomach aches, feelings of tension and sadness than those whose parents share custody, research has found.

A study compared how children were affected by living with both parents, only one parent, mostly one parent, or in joint custody.

It found that children in the last category suffered from fewer psychosomatic problems than those living mostly or only with one parent.

Youngsters living with both parents in a nuclear family set-up had the lowest score of all on the psychosomatic problems scale, which measured issues such as children's concentration, difficulties with sleeping, dizziness and loss of appetite.

The proportion of children who said they "often" or "always" had the different symptoms assessed on the scale was highest among those who lived with one parent.

Overall, girls reported more psychosomatic problems than boys, stated the research, which analysed 150,000 children aged 12 and 15 in Sweden and was carried out at Stockholm University.

The study said joint custody has become common in Sweden, rising from about 1%-2% in the mid-1980s to up to 40% of children with separated parents in 2010.

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