New study shows that children of divorce twice as likely to have a stroke

Science Daily reports on a recent peer-reviewed Canadian study that links an increased risk of stroke to divorce. (H/T Ruth Blog)


“We were very surprised that the association between parental divorce and stroke remained so strong even after we had adjusted for smoking, obesity, exercise and alcohol consumption,” said [study leader Esme] Fuller-Thomson.

[…]Of the 13,134 total study respondents, 10.4 percent had experienced parental divorce during their childhood, and 1.9 percent reported that they had been diagnosed with a stroke at some point in their lives. When adjusting for age, race and gender, the odds of stroke were approximately 2.2 times higher for those who had experienced parental divorce.

When other risk factors — including socioeconomic status, health behaviors, mental health, and other adverse childhood experiences — were controlled in a logistic regression analysis, the odds ratio of stroke for those who had experienced parental divorce remained significantly elevated.

I also noticed that Stephen Baskerville has a new article on no-fault divorce up in the (ugh! blech!) American Conservative.


First: Marriage exists primarily to cement the father to the family. This fact is politically incorrect but undeniable. The breakdown of marriage produces widespread fatherlessness, not motherlessness. As Margaret Mead pointed out long ago—yes, leftist Margaret Mead was correct about this—motherhood is a biological certainty whereas fatherhood is socially constructed. The father is the weakest link in the family bond, and without the institution of marriage he is easily discarded.

[…]The notion that marriage exists for love or “to express and safeguard an emotional union of adults,” as one proponent puts it, is cant. Many loving and emotional human relationships do not involve marriage. Even the conservative argument that marriage exists to rear children is too imprecise: marriage creates fatherhood. No marriage, no fathers.

[…]Here is the second unpleasant truth: homosexuals did not destroy marriage, heterosexuals did. The demand for same-sex marriage is a symptom, not a cause, of the deterioration of marriage. By far the most direct threat to the family is heterosexual divorce. “Commentators miss the point when they oppose homosexual marriage on the grounds that it would undermine traditional understandings of marriage,” writes family scholar Bryce Christensen. “It is only because traditional understandings of marriage have already been severely undermined that homosexuals are now laying claim to it.”

[..]Thus the third inconvenient fact: divorce is a political problem. It is not a private matter, and it does not come from impersonal forces of moral and cultural decay. It is driven by complex and lucrative government machinery operating in our names and funded by our taxes. It is imposed upon unwilling people, whose children, homes, and property may be confiscated. It generates the social ills that rationalize almost all domestic government spending. And it is promoted ideologically by the same sexual radicals who now champion same-sex marriage. Homosexuals may be correct that heterosexuals destroyed marriage, but the heterosexuals were their fellow sexual ideologues.

Conservatives have completely misunderstood the significance of the divorce revolution. While they lament mass divorce, they refuse to confront its politics. Maggie Gallagher attributes this silence to “political cowardice”: “Opposing gay marriage or gays in the military is for Republicans an easy, juicy, risk-free issue,” she wrote in 1996. “The message [is] that at all costs we should keep divorce off the political agenda.”

No American politician of national stature has seriously challenged unilateral divorce. “Democrats did not want to anger their large constituency among women who saw easy divorce as a hard-won freedom and prerogative,” writes Barbara Dafoe Whitehead. “Republicans did not want to alienate their upscale constituents or their libertarian wing, both of whom tended to favor easy divorce, nor did they want to call attention to the divorces among their own leadership.”

If we social conservatives care about children, then we need to be opposed to no-fault divorce. We need to be more careful about who we choose to marry, and not choose mates because of “chemistry” or “hotness” or because our friends approve of them based on arbitrary cultural standards gleaned from Lady Gaga and Dancing With The Stars. There are defined roles for the participants to a marriage, and there is a design for marriage, and there are specific tasks that need to get done. Marriage is a job, and it requires skills to execute difficult tasks that are morally obligatory. It’s not about immature selfish adults pursuing happiness at the expense of their children. It’s not about feelings. It’s not about sentimentality. It’s not about fun.

Divorce causes damage to the health and well-being of children, resulting in behaviors that will give us less liberty (greater intervention of government) and higher taxes (for social welfare programs) later on. There are consequences to selfishness and irresponsibility in relationships. Other people do not exist to entertain you. Relationships are not a form of recreational activity. At least they should not be for Christians. For Christians, the goal of relationships is to get the other person to have a closer relationship with God and to be equipped to serve God better. If children are the result, then the same obligation applies to them. That is the purpose of relationships in Christianity.

6 thoughts on “New study shows that children of divorce twice as likely to have a stroke”

  1. Excellent post!

    For interest’s sake, what’s wrong with the “American Conservative”? I’m unfamiliar with it.


    1. Oh, well, I don’t think they are conservative the way I understand conservative.

      Pat Buchanan is the guy who runs “American Conservative” and he is a “paleo-conservative”.

      Here is a debate on paleo-conservatism:

      I am for free trade, increased skilled legal immigration and assimilation, and a strong national defense abroad to deter aggression and stabilize international trade.


        1. That’s interesting because I’ve been thinking about this a little bit recently. Because of the lack of “authentic” well-known conservatives in Britain the ones that really are conservative stand out quite a lot. Peter Hitchens is definitely one of those, but from the things I’ve read and watched he definitely seems to come across as a paleo-conservative.
          He has a lot of brilliant things to say but is quite critical of the neo-conservatism of, for example, the Bush administration.
          I think I can definitely see the points that he is making, and I actually think his criticisms are very hard for neo-conservatism to deal with. He criticises the tenures of Reagan and Thatcher for focusing on economics almost completely without having much- if any- understanding of the huge cultural issues that needed solving.

          Actually, wintery, the posts that you make about the welfare state, feminism, relationships, responsibility, the secular left agenda etc definitely resonate a paleo-conservativism that I don’t usually hear neo-cons talking about, ie bush, palin, mccain etc.
          Hitchens, on-the-other-hand, is always always talking about how the welfare state incentivises broken families and the State has been pushing a radical leftist liberal agenda for years.
          He is also HUGELY critical of the current Tory party in england, which has single-handedly changed my mind completely on them to now agreeing with his position on them.

          Compare him to a lot of the ‘conservatives’ in America and you will find he brings in his Christian worldview to these topics far more often and in much more depth than they ever do, I heardly ever hear the neo-cons in america talking about a christian culture etc in an authentic way, though they do defend the applications of christian principles in the way they defend marriage and attack abortion etc.
          Interesting stuff though, and I would be interested to hear more of your thoughts on these topics!


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