Researchers asked 793 kindergarten pupils aged between five and six to flip a coin in a small area enclosed by a curtain, with one side of the coin black and the other white.

The child was told that if the outcome was white they would receive sweets as a reward, but would get nothing if it was black.

They found that 32 per cent of children of non-divorced parents who had a chance to cheat took advantage of it compared to 56 per cent of those with divorced parents.

The authors wrote: ‘Children of divorced parents are more likely to be exposed to manipulative behaviour of one parent towards the other and to internalise that lying is acceptable if it helps promote their interests.