University of Sussex
Browse (1.36 MB)

Long-term influences of parental divorce on offspring affective disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Download (1.36 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-09, 06:17 authored by Amy Sands, Ellen J Thompson, Darya GaysinaDarya Gaysina
Background: The prevalence of divorce in Western countries has increased in recent decades. However, there is no recent systematic review and/or meta-analysis of studies testing for long-term effects of parental divorce on offspring affective disorders. The present study conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies published since 1980 testing for the association between parental divorce and offspring depression and anxiety in adulthood. Method: PUBMED, Science Direct, Medline, PsychInfo, and PsychArticles databases were searched for eligible studies. Random-effect meta-analyses were used to synthesize effect sizes and to test whether associations of parental divorce with offspring affective disorders differed among three publication periods (i.e., before 1996, 1996–2005, 2006–2015). Results: In total, 29 studies were eligible for the systematic review, and 18 studies were included in the meta-analyses (depression: n=21,581; anxiety: n=2472). There was significant association between parental divorce and offspring depression (OR=1.56; 95%CI [1.31, 1.86]), but not anxiety (OR=1.16; 95%CI [0.98, 1.38]). The effect of parental divorce on offspring depression was not weaker in the reports published in more recent decades. Limitations: There is limited research in relation to offspring anxiety in adulthood. Conclusions: Parental divorce is associated with an increased risk of adult offspring depression, with no indication of the effect being weaker in recent publications.


Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Accepted version


Journal of Affective Disorders







Page range


Department affiliated with

  • Psychology Publications

Full text available

  • Yes

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


First Open Access (FOA) Date


First Compliant Deposit (FCD) Date


Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Publications)


    No categories selected