Parental separation and cardiometabolic risk factors in late adolescence: a cross-cohort comparison

Ana Luiza Gonçalves Soares, Helen Gonçalves, Alicia Matijasevich, Maija Sequeira, George Davey Smith, Ana M B Menezes, Maria Cecília Assunção, Fernando C Wehrmeister, Abigail Fraser, Laura D Howe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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The aim of this study was to explore the association between parental separation during childhood (up to 18 years of age) and cardiometabolic risk factors (body mass index, fat mass index, blood pressure, physical activity, smoking, and alcohol consumption) in late adolescence using a cross-cohort comparison and to explore whether associations differ according to the age at which the parental separation occurred and the presence or absence of parental conflict prior to separation. Data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC, United Kingdom) (1991–2011) and the 1993 Pelotas Birth Cohort (Brazil) (1993–2011) were used. The associations of parental separation with children’s cardiometabolic risk factors were largely null. Higher odds of daily
smoking were observed in both cohorts for those adolescents whose parents separated (for ALSPAC, odds ratio = 1.46; for Pelotas Birth Cohort, odds ratio = 1.98). Some additional associations were observed in the Pelotas Birth Cohort but were generally in the opposite direction to our a priori hypothesis: Parental separation was associated with lower blood pressure and fat mass index, and with more physical activity. No consistent differences were observed when analyses were stratified by child’s age at parental separation or parental conflict.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)898-906
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number10
Early online date21 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2017


  • adolescents
  • cardiometabolic risk factors
  • cohort studies
  • divorce
  • parental separation
  • Pelotas cohort


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