Effects of Divorce on Children
With over 50% of marriages today ending in divorce the pressing question is what, if any, kind of effect does this have on children involved under the age of 18. With divorce on the rise, and the rate of divorce increasing 10-fold over the last 100 years this is a question that must be asked. This paper includes the analysis of various websites, articles, and books, even an article 15 years old. This paper will study the research that’s been conducted on the children of broken marriages and study the different factors that play into the success or failure of various age groups and demographics. Research will show the different physical, biosocial, and psychosocial effects and factors of children from marriages and single parent homes. This research will show that there are many different factors that play into the development of children through trying times.
EFFECTS OF DIVORCE ON CHILDREN
With divorce rates increasing by more than 10-fold over the past 100 years, there have been countless studies on the effects that these family changes have on children (Furstenberg 1990). Researchers agree that there are indeed consequences to the nuclear family being separated; however, the extent of the aftermath is still debated. Some areas of discussion are: 1. What are the short-term effects of divorce on children? 2. What are the long-term effects of divorce on children? 3. What are the factors that make divorce “easier” on children? The research conducted here will focus on these three questions, and break the first two questions down into cognitive, biosocial, and psychosocial arenas to examine them further. Are there short-term effects of divorce on children?
Short-term effects of divorce in the case of children are probably the most studied because the results are easier to gather for obvious reasons; it’s much harder to study a single individual over the course of years than it is months. Researchers have found plenty of areas that are affected by the splitting of the nuclear family setting. We will classify these findings into cognitive, biosocial, and psychosocial findings. cogniTIve short-term effects
Much of the research conducted on divorce and children is inconclusive. On one hand, Amato’s research found that when it comes to cognitive development children who place part of the blame for their parents’ divorce on themselves are more poorly adjusted which lead to the children showings signs of psychosocial issues which will be discussed in detail shortly (Emery and Kelly 2003). Emery and Kelly point out another important part of the cognitive development of children who experience divorce. Their research indicates that most children aren’t informed about the separation the parents are about to partake in which leaves children confused, and with no one to blame (2003). Berger confirms, only 56% of children live with their nuclear family so issues like these are important (2008). Foulkes’ research adds to this topic by explaining that preschoolers’ underdeveloped cognitive ability, and egocentric nature contribute to their guilt when their parents get divorced (2001). This indicates that their understanding could result in “acting-out” or other negative behavior. From the cognitive standpoint much of the effects depend on age and the current cognitive ability (Foulkes 2001). biosocial short-term effects
The biosocial effects are perhaps the easiest to identify. Furstenberg’s research affirms, “The most obvious effect of divorce is that it typically brings about a sudden reconfiguration of the family (1990).” This reconfiguration usually results in the female gaining custody of the children while the male is left to his own devices. According to Furstenberg’s research this leaves the female at a double disadvantage because not only do they solely bare the responsibility of the children, but also research shows that the male leaves with the highest economic...
References: Amato, P. R. The Consequences of Divorce for Adults and Children. Journal of Marriage and Family, 62(4), 1269-1287.
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Emery, R. E. & Kelly, J. B. Children’s Adjustment Following Divorce: Risk and Resilience Perspectives. Family Relations, 52(4), 352-362,
Foulkes-Jamison, L. (2001, January 1), The Effects of Divorce on Children, Retrieved from http://cpancf.com/articles_files/efffectsdivorceonchildren.asp
Furstenberg, F. F. Jr. Divorce and the American Family. Annual Review of Sociology, 16, 379-403.
Hughes, R. (2009, April 10), The Effects of Divorce on Children, Retrieved from http://parenting247.org/article.cfm?ContentID=646
Jayson, S. (2008, April 24), Study: Divorce May Not Cause Kids’ Bad Behavior, USA Today. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-04-24-divorce-kids-behavior_N.htm
Laurance, J. (2003, January 24), Divorce ‘Harms Children Long After Separation’, The Independent. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/divorce-harms-children-long-after-separation-602763.html
Oklahoma Marriage Initiative, (n.d.), Divorce Effects on Children, Retrieved from http://www.okmarriage.org/Services/EffectsOfDivorce.asp
Parker, W. (n.d.), The Effects of Divorce on Children and How to Cope Why Children are Impacted by Divorce, Retrieved from http://fatherhood.about.com/cs/divorceddads/a/divorcekids.htm
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