Children of divorced parents are driven to drink and drugs to cope with the stress, with more saying it had a negative effect on their futures and health, according to a survey.

A survey involving 500 young people aged 14 to 22 found that one in five of those whose parents were going through a divorce said they didn't get the exam results they were hoping for, 65% of which were GCSE results and 44% saying their A-Levels suffered as a result of their parent's divorce.

A further 15% said they were forced to move schools following their parent's break-up, which may have had a direct knock-on effect on their exam results.

Elsewhere in the survey by family law firm Resolution, 14% of the young people said they started drinking alcohol -- or drinking more alcohol than previously -- while almost three in ten (28%) said that they were at risk of developing eating disorders as they started eating more or less than previously while experiencing their family divorce.

One in eight (13%) also admitted to experimenting, or thinking about experimenting with drugs to cope with the stress of the divorce process.

Nearly one in three said one parent had tried to turn them against the other and more than a quarter said their parents tried to involve them in their dispute. Almost one if five also said they completely lost contact with one or more grandparents.

Jo Edwards, Chair of Resolution, said: "These new findings show the wide-ranging impact of divorce and separation on young people. It underlines just how important it is that parents going through a split manage their separation in a way that minimises the stress and impact on the entire family, especially children, otherwise their exam results could suffer. Divorce and separation is always traumatic, but there is a better way to deal with it."

She added: "Each year around 100,000 children under 16 see their parents divorce. Almost half of all break-ups occur when there is at least one child in the relationship, and with 230,000 people in England and Wales going through a divorce each year (and many more separating), this is an issue that affects hundreds of thousands of families in Britain every year.

"Therefore it is crucial that couples do everything possible to resolve disagreements in an amicable way that minimises stress on all family members – particularly any children they may have."