The Effect of Divorce on Children

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The Effect of Divorce on Children

According to Berk (2008), 45% of American marriages end in divorce and half of those involve children. The effect divorce has on children is critical knowledge that people need to understand to be able to help these children overcome the behavioral, emotional, and social problems that they acquire during this time. There are four studies in particular that I have found that have quite fascinating results.

The first article that I discovered was from Andreas Schick’s study (2002) in which he found ways that children show behavioral and emotional differences depending on if they came from a divorced or intact family. There have been previous studies regarding the effects that divorce has on children from a parent or teacher perspective but never from the child himself. From recognizing this, the researcher decided to focus on the child’s perspective in his own study. Schick (2002) evaluated several factors such as fearfulness, self esteem, behavior issues, gender, amount of time since the divorce and inter-parental conflict by comparing children from intact families versus children with divorced parents. His sample consisted of 241 9 to 13 year old children and their parents with 66 of those kids from separated or divorced homes and 175 kids from intact homes. At the time of the separation or divorce, the children were on average about 7.2 years old. Most of the data that he found came from the children’s perspective besides the data on behavioral problems which were received from the parents. To conduct this study, he gave questionnaires to both the children and parents and used several different scales and checklists to gather the data. From his research he found several things such as the kids of divorce were not more fearful than kids who hadn’t experienced a divorce. In comparison to children from intact families, children of divorce, “were less consistent in their academic performance, more often socially withdrawn, and exhibited more delinquent behavior” (Schick, 2002, p. 9). With further evaluation, he discovered that the amount of children with these “clinically relevant problems didn’t depend on the length of time that had elapsed since separation” (Schick, 2002, p. 9). Regarding interparental conflict, he found that emotional factors that affect these children are a consequence of the lack of social support from the father and the child’s thoughts of the damage from interparental conflicts. Schick’s findings correlate with the text because the text states that “children and adolescents of divorced parents continue to score slightly lower than children of continuously married parents in academic achievement, self-esteem, social competence, and emotional and behavioral adjustment” (Berk, 2008, p. 511).

In contrast to Schick’s work (2002), Lansford et al. (2006) decided to look at how timing plays a role in a child’s adjustment during and after a divorce occurs. This study aimed their focus on getting participants that were entering kindergarten and they ended up with 356 children. 97 of those children experienced at least one divorce during the course of this study (Lansford et al, 2006). To control the demographic variables, they matched each child in the divorced group with a child in the nondivorced group depending on gender, race and SES. Interviews were conducted with the mothers prior to the beginning of the school year and each year after to determine the marital status of each family. The teachers of the students were given checklists that were based on each participant’s behavior in the classroom. They also had the mothers fill out the checklist as well and obtained the individual’s grades each year. Lansford et al. (2006) found that based on the following outcomes: mother-reported internalizing problems, teacher-reported externalizing problems and academic grades, significant findings related to early divorced groups versus the nondivorced...
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