Young people with shared residency after their parents’ divorce have fewer mental problems than young people with other residency arrangements.
This was the conclusion researchers at RKBU Vest (Regional Centre for Child and Youth Mental Health and Child Welfare), Uni Research Health, arrived at when they compared the mental health of young people in different residency arrangements after a divorce.
“Youth with shared residency after a divorce reported less mental issues than those living mostly with a single parent or in a stepfamily. Furthermore, we found that youths with joint residency did not have more mental problems than young people living with their two non-divorced parents,” says Sondre Aasen Nilsen, researcher at RKBU Vest who is one of the researchers behind the study.
More young people with shared residency
During the last ten years there has been a large increase in the number of parents who chose a shared residency scheme for their children after a divorce, where the child lives approximately as much with the mother as with the father. Several international studies show a correlation between this form of living and fewer mental problems among children with divorced parents, compared to those living mostly with the mother or the father.
Nevertheless, shared residency is in dispute and it has been argued that the constant move between two homes may impede the child’s adjustment after a divorce. The latest comprehensive study that examined adjustment in different residency arrangements after a divorce in Norway used data collected in 1997. “We have therefore lacked information about how young people adapt in different residency arrangements today, following the large increase in families who choose a shared residency scheme”, Nilsen says.
In the “ung@hordaland” survey at RKBU Vest, about 7700 young people answered detailed questions about their parents’ divorce, the family’s financial resources, how and who they lived with after the divorce. Their mental health was also mapped. This is the largest Norwegian study that has examined young people’s adaptation in different residency arrangements after the parents’ divorce.
Shared custody equals less stress for children
Sondre Aasen Nilsen et al. Divorce and Family Structure in Norway: Associations With Adolescent Mental Health, Journal of Divorce & Remarriage (2017). DOI: 10.1080/10502556.2017.1402655