This study analyzes the relationship of having a child with the early-onset disability cerebral palsy (CP) and the parental decision to divorce and to have additional children. We use longitudinal matched case-control data from multiple linked Swedish National Population Registers between 2001 and 2015 and perform Cox proportional hazards regressions with interval-censoring. Although we do not find a general excess parental divorce risk on CP relative to the comparison group without CP, we find that having a child with CP increases the risk of divorce for parents with low education. We also find that having a child with CP reduces the likelihood of having additional children, especially for mothers in the older age range (maternal age at delivery >33 years) and parents with low education. The severity level of the disability, as indicated by gross motor function, is not related to the results. These findings should be understood in the Swedish context, which provides extensive welfare support (e.g., personal assistance). If future studies would find adverse results in countries with less social care and benefits, our results may indicate that it is possible to mitigate negative consequences for the family of a child with disability.
- Folkhälsovetenskap, global hälsa, socialmedicin och epidemiologi