Washington: A new study has revealed that individuals who have lost either of their parents during childhood, have 50 percent greater risk of mortality risks in their adulthood than those unexposed to parental death.
The authors said that 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.
They further added that findings warrant the need for health and social support to the bereaved children and such support may need to cover an extended time period.
As the study was undertaken in high-income countries, these findings were unlikely to be the result of a lack of material or healthcare needs. Rather, the increased mortality among the exposed children likely reflects both genetic susceptibility and the long-term impacts of parental death on health and social well-being.
This study is published in this week's PLOS Medicine.