By Steve Doughty
UPDATED: 22:44 GMT, 21 October 2008
Children from broken families are nearly five times more likely to suffer damaging mental troubles than those whose parents stay together, Government research has found.
It also showed that two parents are much better than one if children are to avoid slipping into emotional distress and anti-social behaviour.
The findings say that children’s family backgrounds are as important - if not more so - than whether their home is poor, workless, has bad health, or has no one with any educational qualifications.
Difficult start: Children raised by a single parent are more likely to suffer distress
The research adds to a wealth of data that shows children suffer badly from divorce or parental break-up, and that those brought up by a single parent are more likely to do badly at school, suffer poor health, and fall into crime, addiction and poverty as adults.
The report, funded by the Department of Health and published by the Office for National Statistics, investigated emotional disorders - ranked as those which cause considerable distress and interference with the way in which children perform at school and during play.
It also looked at conduct disorders which result in aggressive, violent or anti-social behaviors.
The researchers studied nearly 8,000 children aged between five and 16 in 2004 and found almost one in ten had disorders. The children were checked again last year.
The report said that a child whose parents had split during this time…