Study: When parents split, preschoolers show behavior problems

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A new study shows children ages 3 to 5 with parents who have split exhibit negative behavior.

Kids whose parents split up when they were preschoolers have increased behavior problems, according to new research that suggests the timing of such breakups has long-term effects.

The study by University of Chicago and Georgetown University researchers found that such disruption — particularly in a child’s first three years but probably until they’re as old as 5 — “more strongly influences children’s development than changes later in childhood,” and those influences “seem to have negative effects on children’s behavior.”

“Family-structure changes during early childhood at the preschool period seem to matter more than later changes,” said the study’s co-author Rebecca Ryan of Georgetown. “Change experienced in middle childhood and pre-adolescence had no effect on kids’ outcomes.”

Gannett News Service