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Embargoed Until
November 22, 2010, at 7:30 a.m.

Contact: Todd Kluss
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(202) 587-2839

Study Ties Parental Divorce in Childhood to Stroke in Adulthood

Children who experience a parental divorce are over twice as likely to suffer a stroke at some point in their lives, according to new research presented in New Orleans at The Gerontological Society of America’s (GSA) 63rd Annual Scientific Meeting.

This finding is based on a representative community sample of over 13,000 people from the 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey. The data analysis was conducted by Esme Fuller-Thomson, PhD, and a team of colleagues at the University of Toronto.

“We were very surprised that the association between parental divorce and stroke remained so strong even after we had adjusted for smoking, obesity, exercise and alcohol consumption,” said Fuller-Thomson.

Of the 13,134 total study respondents, 10.4 percent had experienced parental divorce during their childhood, and 1.9 percent reported that they had been diagnosed with a stroke at some point in their lives. When adjusting for age, race and gender, the odds of stroke were approximately 2.2 times higher for those who had experienced parental divorce.

When other risk factors — including socioeconomic status, health behaviors, mental health, and other adverse childhood experiences — were controlled in a logistic regression analysis, the odds ratio of stroke for those who had experienced parental divorce remained significantly elevated.

GSA’s meeting — the country’s largest interdisciplinary conference in the field of aging — is taking place at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside from November 19 to 23. An estimated 3,500 professionals are expected to attend and the program schedule contains more than 500 scientific sessions featuring research presented for the first time.

Fuller-Thomson’s presentation, “Is There a Link Between Parental Divorce During Childhood and Stroke in Adulthood? Findings from a Population Based Survey,” is taking place at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, November 22, in Grand Salons 7 and 10 in the Hilton. Angela D. Dalton and Rukshan Mehta are co-authors.

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The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society — and its 5,200+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA’s structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and an educational branch, the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education.

Click here for a printable PDF version of this press release.

Mildred M. Seltzer Distinguished Service Recognition

Presented to C. Joanne Grabinski, PhD, Eastern Michigan University, and Mary Alice Wolf, PhD, Saint Joseph University.

This award honors colleagues who are near retirement or recently retired. Recipients are individuals who have been actively involved in AGHE through service on committees, as elected officers, and/or have provided leadership in one of AGHE’s grant-funded projects.

Administrative Leadership Award

Presented to Tammy M. Bray, PhD, Oregon State University

This award honors administrators on AGHE member campuses who have made exceptional efforts in support of gerontology or geriatrics education.

David A. Peterson Gerontology & Geriatrics Education Best Paper of the Volume Award

Presented to Nina M. Silverstein, PhD, University of Massachusetts Boston; Elizabeth Johns, MS, University of Massachusetts Boston; and Judith A. Griffin, MA, MS, University of Massachusetts Boston, for the article “Students Explore Livable Communities.” Honorable mention is given to Emily J. Robbins, MS, Miami University; Jennifer M. Kinney, PhD, Miami University; and Cary S. Kart, PhD, Miami University, for the article “Promoting Active Engagement in Health Research: Lessons Learned from an Undergraduate Gerontology Capstone Course.”

The purpose of this award is to recognize excellence in scholarship in academic gerontology in AGHE’s official journal, Gerontology & Geriatrics Education.

Graduate Student Paper Award

Presented to Deborah Gray, MBA, University of Massachusetts Boston, for the paper “Weight and Wealth: The Relationship between Obesity and Net Worth for Pre-Retirement Age Men and Women.”

This award acknowledges excellence in scholarly work conducted by an AGHE Annual Meeting student attendee.

Book Award for Best Children’s Literature on Aging

Presented to Caitlin Dale Nicholson and Leona Morinn-Nelson for “Niwechihaw/I help” in the primary reader (pre-K to 2nd grade) category, and Ann Grifalconi and Jerry Pickney for “Ain’t Nobody A Stranger to Me” in the elementary reader (3rd to 5th grade) category.

This award recognizes portrayals of meaningful aging in children’s literature.