Coping with Kids Cancer Doesn't Lead More Parents to Divorce: Study

Read how a large Danish study shows that parents with children who have cancer are not more likely to divorce than parents with healthy children, and in fact, families facing a serious illness have the capacity to adjust, sacrifice and do what they must t

By Josh D. Simon
Updated: July 17, 2014
divorce news

As reported by the Huffington Post, parents who have children with cancer aren't more likely to divorce than their counterparts without sick children, after all.

That's the unexpected conclusion drawn from a massive 20-year Danish study, which looked at nearly 50,000 couples -- a portion of whom had one dreadful thing in common: they each had a child or children afflicted with cancer.

Researchers then compared divorce rates among these cancer-stricken families to couples with healthy children. After factoring in aspects such as employment and employment, they discovered that divorce rates matched.

"It's extremely reassuring that you can conduct a very large, nationwide, population-based study in which you come up with a null finding, which in this case is a positive finding," commented study researcher Dr. Christoffer Johansen of Copenhagen's Danish Cancer Society Research Center. "This is a dramatic finding because it shows how strong a marriage really is in a period where family is experiencing tough times."

Johansen's use of the word "dramatic" may seem unusually animated coming from academic circles, but there's really no other way to express the study's results, given just how prevalent the belief is that a seriously ill child places an unendurable strain on a marriage.

On the contrary, the study suggests that today's marriages are surprisingly resilient, and that in the face of a serious illness threatening their child, many parents have both the willingness and the capacity to sacrifice, adjust, and do what's necessary to keep their families together.

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April 18, 2012

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