Children who suffer psychological traumas - including the divorce of their parents - earn up to 30 per cent less than their peers, a study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Rand Corporation revealed.

The study warned that psychological problems in childhood leave more severe long-term problems than growing up with a physical condition, as it can persist throughout adulthood as well.

Children who grew up with psychological problems typically earned £215,000 less during their lifetimes than those who had a stable family life and childhood. The figures included the earnings of a spouse or partner and was calculated after tax.

The research looked at 17,634 children born in Britain in the first week of March 1958. Children were classed as having such problems if they had been a psychologist or psychiatrist before their 16th birthday. Their doctors were also asked if the children had shown any signs of 'emotional maladjustment', which could include being extremely upset and confused if their parents divorced.

James Smith, one of the authors of the study and a senior economist at the Rand Corporation, said:

"Childhood psychological problems can have significant negative impacts over the course of an individual's life."

Posted by Robert Mair on 29.3.11 Comment on this article by sending it to: penny.hosie@pavpub.com 

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