- A new study reveal that disrupted family structure can affect the mental health of a child
- Physical abuse and trauma causes readmission of such children to psychological treatment centers
- Single parenthood increases risks of mental problems in children
The world now believes in live-in-relationships and too small nuclear families. Women started being single mothers while men started being single fathers. Yet, the family structure plays an important role in shaping the mental health of a child.
Affection, support, bond, simple fights and all that a family fondly nurtures influence those little minds. In a recent study conducted by a team of scholars from Southern Illinois University, it has been substantiated that about 89 percent of the children who sought psychological treatment in hospital came from a disrupted family structure.
The study included as many as 154 patients admitted to a psychiatry department in a hospital. As per the study, two-third of the participant population experienced a trauma from physical abuse.
Major causes for mental problems in children attributes to
The research indicates that dysfunctional family backgrounds may even increase the chances of suicide in young people. According to the research, children from a single parent (mother or father) were two times likely to report internalizing problems (behavioral problems like fearfulness, low self-esteem, etc.) while three times likely to report externalizing problems (behavioral problems like disobeying rules, stealing etc.).
As per the study, divorce of the parents found to be influencing the child’s mental health the most than other disruptions in the family. The presence of stepfather increases the chances of physical abuse and thereby causing trauma in children.
The research also reveals that parents who experience abuse or domestic violence in childhood were prone to act aggressively to their children.
Disrupted family structure and abuse also attribute to increasing readmissions to the hospital as far as children are concerned. Among the participants, about 44 percent children came from single-parent home including divorced parents. Around 23 percent were under foster care while about 14 percent were from blended family in which father or mother was remarried.
The study also found out that absence of intact biological family increased the chances of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children. The study also reveals that the family structure and child sexual abuse were not associated significantly.
Former President of India A.P.J.Abdul Kalam said “Happy Family leads to a happy nation,” which can also read along with the findings of this study. A happy family can nurture a mentally strong child, an asset to the nation.
The study was published in the latest issue of Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine.