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Soc Work Health Care. 2011;50(3):242-56. doi: 10.1080/00981389.2010.527793.

Health risks of separated or divorced over-indebted fathers: separation from children and financial distress.

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  • 1Institute of Occupational, Social, and Environmental Medicine, University Medical Center of the University of Mainz, Mainz, Germany.


The study examines over-indebted fathers after separation/divorce with respect to health-related lifestyles/state of health. A cross-sectional survey was conducted among over-indebted persons in Germany 2006/2007 (response rate 39.7%). Fathers in complete families (n = 73; M = 37 years) and single mothers (n = 72; M = 33.5 years) served as comparison groups to the separated fathers (n = 59; M = 37 years). Risks of depressive mood, unhealthy nutrition, and hypertension were higher compared to fathers in complete families. Tobacco use and low health awareness proved to be higher than among both comparison groups. The findings indicate problematic health-related behavior and health status among separated over-indebted fathers, and suggest recognizing them as a high risk group within social work.

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