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A child custody fight could negatively impact kids' health

According to recent research, parents who are unable to move through their divorce without excessive tension and strife could be doing serious damage to the immune systems of their children. Researchers believe that any significant stressful experience in a child's life can have a negative impact on the child's ability to fight inflammation and defend against illness. That information could help Texas parents work to find ways to work together to resolve their divorce and child custody differences, rather than fighting to the bitter end over each and every issue within their divorce.

Researchers conducted a study in which more than 200 adults in good health were exposed to a virus that causes the common cold. Those adults who had parents who separated and then refused to communicate with one another were more than three times as likely to exhibit cold symptoms than those who grew up in intact homes. Most importantly, those whose parents split, but remained in contact were also less likely to fall ill than those whose parents did not maintain communication.

Researchers believe that this outcome is related to how the body responds to viral infection. It appears that being exposed to stress during childhood creates a heightened inflammatory response in adulthood. Increased inflammation can lead to reduced immune system efficacy.

What this research suggests is that it may not be a divorce itself that causes negative outcomes for children, but rather the ways in which parents handle their divorce. That is a powerful message to those in Texas who are considering divorce, and who are preparing for a child custody case. Working together to resolve the details of a divorce, and creating a positive co-parenting relationship afterward could help children develop a strong immune system, and enjoy healthier outcomes as adults.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "When divorce turns bitter, kids' immunity may pay a price", June 8, 2017

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