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Columnist: Dispelling a Myth Part II

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By Daniel J. Vance

In a recent column, I began shedding light on what I see as a mountain of research that effectively debunks the established myth that 75 percent of marriages involving a child with a disability end in divorce. In my review of the research literature, I learned marriages involving a child with a disability have about the same divorce rate as all marriages.
For example, a 1990-2002 Tennessee study involving 370,000 children found married parents of children with Down syndrome had a divorce rate 4 percent lower than other married parents. The same study found married parents of children with “other birth defects” had a divorce rate 3.6 percent higher than all married parents.
Why does dispelling this myth matter?
For one, parents of newborns with disabilities hearing of a false 75 percent divorce rate at a vulnerable moment in their relationship could become discouraged and lose hope, which could lead to depression and other mental health issues. What they need is the truth.


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