A study conducted by the University of Alberta has revealed that a child undergoes the maximum damage with regard to its mental health before its parents divorce. The study does not advocate remaining together for the sake of the child either. More attention should be paid to the child while the divorce proceedings are going on rather than helping them when the event has already occurred, according to Dr. Lisa Strohschein. In the case of children who live in highly dysfunctional families, the level of antisocial behavior decline after the divorce.
Where Canada is concerned, 50% of the divorces involved dependant children. The earlier researches did not take into account the quality of life led by the child before the divorce. Strohschein has been tracking the effects of divorce on the mental health of the child before, during the course of the divorce, and after the event takes place. This helps differentiate between the effects of the divorce and that of other family characteristics.
Strohschein compared children whose parents remained together and those whose parents had divorced between 1994 and 1998. The National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth of Canada continues to interview the sample of 17,000 children once in two years. Antisocial behavior along with anxiety and depression is quite common among children whose parents are about to break up. The parents who are about to get divorced also reported higher levels of depression and family dysfunction, which also has its effect on the child's mental health. The research has revealed that troubled families are the reason for damaging the mental health of the child, in addition to divorce.