Boys who are parted from their dads through separation are three times more likely to consider suicide as men according to a new Canadian study.
Researchers from the University of Toronto studied 6,647 adults, including almost 700 who had been under the age of 18 when their parents divorced and found men from divorced families were three times more likely to have seriously considered suicide than adult males whose parents had not divorced.
The multiplier effect in boys whose parents had divorced is over 50% higher than in girls according to the research published in the journal Psychiatry Research.
Some reports on the impact of dads on boys mental health also highlight the connection between divorce and suicidal ideation is particularly strong for men who grow up in families with childhood stressors, such as physical abuse, parental addiction and parental unemployment.
The link between parental divorce and suicidal ideation is no longer significant among women who do not experience these childhood stressors. But even without these stressors, adult men who were children when their parents divorced still had a twofold increased risk of suicidal ideation compared to men from intact families.
The reason behind why men appear more distressed by their parents’ divorce than women was not determined from the study, but researchers suggested that male development is negatively affected by the loss of close contact with their father at a young age.
Patricia Morgan, a researcher and author on family life, said: ‘The results do not surprise me, they are in line with everything we know about children from disrupted families.
‘Other things, like drug taking, delinquency, joblessness, downward mobility are all higher.’
She added: ‘We are learning more and more about how significant fathers are. It is not enough to have a cardboard cut-out called a father figure”.
The findings echo recent research by the Prince’s Trust showing that young men without a male role model are three times more likely to be depressed and demonstrate once again that Dads Make A Difference to boys’ mental health and wellbeing.
Other links between men and suicide include the facts that:
- 81% of young adult suicide victims in the UK are a male
- Male victims of child abuse are ten times more at risk of suicide
- Boys excluded from school are 19 times more likely to commit suicide
- Boys are four times more likely to be excluded from school
- Boys separated from their dads are 3 times more likely to be excluded from school
According to a Daily Mail report on boys from broken homes being more prone to suicide, figures show that nearly one children in the UK in three lives with just one of their biological parents. The bulk of the 3.8million boys and girls live with just their mother, others with their father or with a step-family.
More than two million never stay with their missing parent overnight, the analysis by the Office for National Statistics found.
An interesting gender footnote on the story, while this research highlights that boys whose parents separate will be at greater risk of suicide as adults than girls, the media coverage we referenced only shows pictures of girls. See this sexist picture editing in The Daily Mail, Top News USA and The Med Guru website.