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The Pediatric Forum
January 4, 2010

Risk of Parental Dissolution of Partnership Following the Loss of a Child to Cancer: A Population-Based Long-term Follow-up

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2010;164(1):100-101. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2009.247

A common belief is that bereaved parents are more likely to separate than others, but previous research has been unable to settle this issue owing to conflicting findings.1,2 Parents of a child with cancer are at increased risk of psychological distress3 and possibly also marital strain.4,5 Sirki et al5 studied parents who lost a child during active cancer treatment or terminal care and found that divorce was significantly more common among couples with a child in terminal care compared with a child in active cancer therapy. No conclusive studies on long-term marital status in parents having lost a child to cancer have been conducted. Therefore, we assessed parental dissolution of a partnership 4 to 9 years following the loss of a child to cancer compared with parents from the general population.

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