Title: The Relative Divorce Risk in Parents of a Child with Developmental Disabilities
Legend: Left image: The Kaplan-Meier survival analysis with parents of a child with developmental disabilities (n=190) compared to parents of children without any disabilities (n=7,251) revealed that the two groups of parents do not show significantly different survival (i.e., remaining married) functions across the life course (p=0.2). There was neither an increased risk of divorce associated with having a child with a developmental disability nor a difference in the timing of divorce. Right image: However, whereas having a greater number of children was related to an increased divorce risk among parents of children without disabilities, having more children did not increase divorce risk among parents of children with developmental disabilities.
Citation: Namkung, E., Song, J., Greenberg, J., Mailick, M., & Floyd, F. (2015). The relative risk and timing of divorce in parents of children with developmental disabilities: Impacts of lifelong parenting. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 120(6).
Abstract: We examined prospectively the risk of divorce in 190 parents of children with developmental disabilities compared to 7,251 parents of children without disabilities based on data gathered as part of the Wisconsin Longitudinal Survey, a random sample drawn from the community and followed longitudinally for over 50 years. Contrary to our expectation, parents of children with developmental disabilities did not show an increased risk of divorce nor a difference in the timing of divorce. However, there was a significant interaction between the parental group status and number of children in the family. In the comparison group, having a greater number of children was related to an increased risk of divorce, whereas having a greater number of children did not increase the risk of divorce among parents of children with developmental disabilities.
About the investigator: Greenberg is associate vice chancellor for social studies, professor and director of the School of Social Work. His research is on families of persons with disabilities; with a special focus on aging parents as caregivers to adult children with severe and persistent mental illness.