MONDAY, Nov. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Children of divorce appear to have more than double the lifetime risk for experiencing a stroke compared with those whose parents' marriage stays intact during their childhood, new research suggests.
The finding stems from a survey of more than 13,000 Canadians, about 10 percent of whom had experienced parental divorce when they were young children or adolescents.
"I certainly don't want this to be taken to mean that children from divorced households are condemned to have strokes," said study author Dr. Esme Fuller-Thomson, a professor and Sandra Rotman Chair in the faculties of social work, medicine and nursing at the University of Toronto.
"This is just one factor among many that may increase stroke risk," she noted. "And we don't know that it's causal, in the sense that divorce leads to a stroke. It could be that many other things are at work here that are related to divorce, but are not divorce itself. We just don't know yet."
Fuller-Thomson is slated to present her team's findings Monday at the Gerontological Society of America's annual meeting in New Orleans.
To explore the question, the authors sifted through data that had initially been collected in 2005 by Statistics Canada, the Canadian equivalent of the U.S. Census Bureau.
The current study focused on survey participants from two Canadian provinces, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Nearly 1,400 of the 13,000 respondents had experienced parental divorce, and just fewer than 2 percent (248) said they had experienced a stroke at some point.
The research team looked into a wide range of potentially influential factors, including age, race, gender, socioeconomic background, educational background, adult mental health history, childhood physical abuse history, long-term parental unemployment, lifestyle issues (such as obesity, and smoking and drinking behaviors), an
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