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Both the mother and father share special bonding with a child. Presence of both the parents is important for the upbringing of the child. A new study has found that the death of any of the parents is directly linked to the death of child during his childhood.
According to the researchers, those who have lost either their mother or father during childhood have higher risk of mortality in the years following the parent’s death.
The study was conducted by lead researcher Jiong Li and his colleagues from Aarhus University in Denmark.
For the study, the researchers used the data collected from national registries from all children born in Denmark between 1968 and 2008 and in Sweden between1973 and 2006. The information of 89 percent of children born in Finland from 1987 to 2006 were also involved in the study.
2.6 percent of the total participants, i.e. 189,094 people, lost a parent when they were between six months and 18 years old. The researcher found that a total of 39,683 people died over the follow-up period, which ranged from 1 to 40 years.
The children whose parents died an unnatural death compared with natural causes were found to be at a greater risk of mortality.
While children whose parents died due to unnatural cause were 84 percent at risk of dying than 33 percent increase in risk of mortality for those whose parents died naturally. Most importantly, the mortality risk was highest for children who lost a parent due to suicide.
According to the study, individuals who were exposed to parental death had a 50 percent higher risk of mortality during the study period in comparison to those unexposed to parental death.
The researchers noted that the high mortality risk persisted even into early adulthood irrespective of their age at the time of parent’s death.
The researchers also expressed need for more in-depth researches citing the current study was undertaken in high-income countries and a broad view is required.
However, they highlighted that the findings are correct as for the rich countries it was unlikely that the lack of healthcare needs resulted in the deaths of the children.
“Parental death in childhood was associated with a long-lasting increased mortality risk from both external causes and diseases, regardless of child’s age at bereavement, sex of the child, sex of the deceased parent, cause of parental death, as well as population characteristics like socioeconomic background,” the researchers said.
They further said, “The findings warrant the need for health and social support to the bereaved children and such support may need to cover an extended time period.”
The findings of the study were published in the US journal PLOS Medicine on Tuesday.