Shared Parenting is a child health matter

William Fabricius is Professor of Psychology from Arizona State University. When he was in Scotland in November 2021 he talked to us about his research into how parenting arrangements after separation affect the emotional security of the children affected. Unequal living arrangements cause a child to feel insecure.  This has negative effects on that child’s stress response system.  The release of stress hormones has harmful effects on physical and mental health not only immediately in childhood but into adult life.

Spending equal amounts of time with both parents buffers children against these threats to emotional security, even when there is still conflict between their parents.

Currently Professor Fabricius is undertaking a longitudinal study on parent-child relationships in shared parenting. Indications are that increases up to equal parenting time result in a strengthening of the father-child relationship with no corresponding deterioration in the mother-child relationship.

Shared Parenting Scotland National Manager, Ian Maxwell, says, “In Scotland it is a matter of law that the child’s interests are paramount. That must remain the test when parents separate. But the approach to assessing those interests in court and among professionals is limited and short term. We feel Professor Fabricius’s work which underpinned a radical change in the law In Arizona in 2013 shows the direction we should be travelling in Scotland.”

Further details of his research can be found here.