One-parent children 'become ill more often'
Children who live with only 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 carried out in Sweden compared how children were affected by living with both parents, only one parent, mostly one parent, or by dividing their time between both 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.
Children living with both parents had the lowest score of all on the Psychosomatic Problems scale, which also measured issues such as 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 only one parent.
Overall, girls reported more psychosomatic problems than boys.
The researchers, who analysed 150,000 children aged 12 and 15 in Sweden, pointed out that several previous studies have established that children with divorced or separated parents are more likely to suffer emotional problems and social maladjustment.
The study was led by the Centre for Health Equity Studies (Chess) at Stockholm University/Karolinska Institutet.