Effects of divorce

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The effects associated with divorce affect the couple’s children in both the short and the long term. After divorce the couple often experience effects including, decreased levels of happiness,[1] change in economic status, and emotional problems. The effects on children include academic, behavioral, and psychological problems. Studies suggest that children from divorced families are more likely to exhibit such behavioral issues than those from non-divorced families.[2]

Uncontested Divorce

In a study of the effect of relocation after a divorce, researchers found that parents relocating far away from each other (with either both moving or one moving) has a long-term effect on children.[3] Researchers found major differences in divorced families in which one parent moved away from the child; the children (as college students) received less financial support from their parents compared with divorced families in which neither parent moved. The children also felt more distress related to the divorce and did not feel a sense of emotional support from their parents. Relocating is defined as when a parent moves more than an hour away from their children. Children of divorces where both parents stayed close together did not have these negative effects.[3]

A longitudinal study by Judith Wallerstein reports long-term negative effects of divorce on children.[4]

Linda Waite analyzed the relation between marriage, divorce and happiness using the National Survey of Family and Households and found that unhappily married families who had divorced were no happier than those who had stayed together.[5] One broad-based study also shows that people have an easier time recovering after the death of a parent as opposed to a divorce. This study reported that children who lose a parent are usually able to attain the same level of happiness that they had before the death, whereas children of divorced parents often are not able to attain the same level of happiness that they had before the divorce.[6]

A child affected by divorce at an early age will show effects later in life. They may make premature transitions to adulthood such as leave home or parent their own child early.[7] Recent authors have argued that a major cost to children comes long after: when they attempt to form stable marriages themselves. Parental divorce leads a child to have lower trust in future relationships.[8] Compared with children of always married parents, children of divorced parents have more positive attitudes towards divorce[9] and less favorable attitudes towards marriage.[10]

The children of divorced parents have also been reported more likely to have behavioral problems than children of married parents and are more likely to suffer abuse than children in intact families.[11]

In contrast to the usual negative views on marriage by children affected by it, Constance Ahrons, in We're Still Family: What Grown Children Have to Say About Their Parents' Divorce,[12] interviewed 98 divorced families' children for numerous subjects found a few of the children saying, "I saw some of the things my parents did and know not to do that in my marriage and see the way they treated each other and know not to do that to my spouse and my children. I know [the divorce] has made me more committed to my husband and my children."[12] In the book For Better or For Worse: Divorce Reconsidered, Mavis Hetherington[13] reports that not all kids fare so badly, and that divorce can actually help children living in high-conflict homes such as those with domestic violence. A peaceful divorce has less of an impact on children than a contested divorce.[12]

A 2015 article[14] updated and confirmed the findings in a 2002 article in Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review.[15] Both articles discuss a variety of health consequences for children of divorced parents. Studies have claimed that people who have been in divorced families have higher rates of alcoholism and other substance abuse compared to those who have never been divorced. Robert H. Coombs, Professor of Behavioral Sciences at UCLA, reviewed over 130 studies measuring how marital status affects personal well-being.[16] Researchers have also shown that children of divorced or separated parents:

  • Have higher rates of clinical depression – Family disruption and low socioeconomic status in early childhood increase the long-term risk for major depression.[17]
  • Seek formal psychiatric care at higher rates [18][19]
  • In the case of men, are more likely to commit suicide and have lower life expectancies.[20][21][22][23][24][25]
  • Acute infectious diseases, digestive illnesses, parasitic diseases, respiratory illnesses, and severe injuries.[26]
  • Cancer – Married cancer patients are also more likely to recover than divorced ones[27]
  • Stroke[28]
  • Heart problems[29]
  • Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis [30]
  • Increased risk of arthritis for children later in life[31][14]

See also

References

  1. ^ Lucas, R. (2007). Adaptation and the set-point model of subjective well-being: Does happiness change after major life events? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16, 75-79. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8721.2007.00479.x
  2. ^ School of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences (Miller, 2003)
  3. ^ a b Braver, S. L., Ellman, I. M. & Fabricius, W. V. (2003). Relocation of children after divorce and children's best interests: New evidence and legal considerations. Journal of Family Psychology, 17, 206-219. doi: 10.1037/0893-3200.17.2.206
  4. ^ 1. Wallerstein, J. S., Lewis, J. M., & Blakeslee, S. (2001). The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: The 25 Year Landmark Study. Hachette Books. ISBN 0-7868-6394-3
  5. ^ Waite, L. J., Browning, D., Doherty, W. J., Gallagher, M., Luo, Y. & Stanley, S. M. (2003). "Does Divorce Make People Happy? Findings from a Study of Unhappy Marriages". Institute for American Values. ISBN 1-931764-03-4
  6. ^ Tebeka, S., Hoertel, N., Dubertret, C. & Le Strat, Y. (2016.) Parental divorce or death during childhood and adolescence and its association with mental health. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 204, 678-685. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000549
  7. ^ Shanahan, M. J. (2000). "Pathways to Adulthood in Changing Societies: Variability and Mechanisms in Life Course Perspective". Annual Review of Sociology, 26, 679. doi:10.1146/annurev.soc.26.1.667.
  8. ^ Jacquet, S. E. & Surra,C. A. (2001). Parental divorce and premarital couples: commitment and other relationship characteristics. Journal of Marriage and Family, 63, 627-638.
  9. ^ 1. Amato, P. R. & Booth, A. (1999). The consequences of divorce for attitudes toward divorce and gender roles, Journal of Family Issues, 12, 306-322.
  10. ^ 1. Jennings, A. M., Salts, C. J. & Smith, T. A., Jr. (1992). Attitudes toward marriage: Effects of parental conflict, family structure, and gender. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 17, 67-78.
  11. ^ 1. Fagan, P. F. & Rector, R. E. (2000). The Effects of Divorce in America. The Heritage Foundation. Backgrounder #1373.
  12. ^ a b c 1. Ahrons, C. (2004). We're Still Family: What Grown Children Have to Say About Their Parents' Divorce. Harper Collins. ISBN 0-06-019305-0.
  13. ^ 1. Hetherington, E. M. & Kelly, J. (2002). For Better or For Worse: Divorce Reconsidered. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-04862-4
  14. ^ a b Thuen, F., Breivik, K., Wold, B., & Ulvester, G. (2015). Growing up with one or both parents: The effects on physical health and health-related behavior through adolescence and into early adulthood. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 56, 451-474. doi: 10.1080/10502556.2015.1058659
  15. ^ 1. Troxel, WM; KA Matthews (2004-03). "What are the costs of marital conflict and dissolution to children's physical health?". Clinical Child Fam Psychol Rev. 7 (1): 29–57. doi:10.1023/B:CCFP.0000020191.73542.b0. PMID 15119687.
  16. ^ Coombs, Robert H (1991). "Marital Status and Personal Well-Being: A Literature Review". Family Relations. 40 (1): 97–102. doi:10.2307/585665. JSTOR 585665.
  17. ^ Gilman, Stephen E.; Ichiro Kawachi; Garrett M. Fitzmaurice; Stephen L. Buka (May 2003). "Family Disruption in Childhood and Risk of Adult Depression". American Journal of Psychiatry. 160(5): 939–946. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.160.5.939. PMID 12727699.
  18. ^ Marks, Nadine F.; James D. Lambert (1998). "Marital Status Continuity and Change among Young and Midlife Adults: Longitudinal Effects on Psychological Well-being". Journal of Family Issues. 19 (6): 652–686. doi:10.1177/019251398019006001.
  19. ^ Bloom, B. R.; S. W. White; S. J. Asher (1979). "Marital Disruption as a Stressful Life Event". Divorce and Separation: Context, Causes and Consequences. New York: Basic Books.
  20. ^ Kposawa, Augustine (2003). "Divorce and suicide risk". Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 57 (12): 993. doi:10.1136/jech.57.12.993. PMC 1732362 . PMID 14652268.
  21. ^ Kposowa, Augustine (2000). "Marital status and suicide in the National Longitudinal Mortality Study". Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 54 (4): 254–261. doi:10.1136/jech.54.4.254. PMC 1731658 . PMID 10827907.
  22. ^ Yang, Sara (2000-03-15). "Men more likely to commit suicide after divorce, study finds". CNN. Retrieved 2006-09-10.
  23. ^ Smock, Pamela J. (1993). "The Economic Costs of Marital Disruption for Young Women over the Past Two Decades". Demography. 30 (3): 353–371. doi:10.2307/2061645. JSTOR 2061645. PMID 8405603.
  24. ^ "Current Population Reports, Special Studies, Series P-23, No. 173". Population profile of the United States: 1991. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office: U.S. Bureau of the Census. 1995.
  25. ^ Dickson, L. (1993). "The future of marriage and family in black America". Journal of Black Studies. 23 (4): 472–491. doi:10.1177/002193479302300403.
  26. ^ Arendell, T. (1995). Fathers and divorce. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications.
  27. ^ Amato, P. R.; B. Keith. (1991). "Parental divorce and adult wellbeing: A meta-analysis". Journal of Marriage and Family. 53 (1): 43–58. doi:10.2307/353132. JSTOR 353132.
  28. ^ Joung, I. M.; et al. (1994). "Differences in Self-Reported Morbidity by Marital Status and by Living Arrangement". International Journal of Epidemiology. 23 (1): 91–7. doi:10.1093/ije/23.1.91. PMID 8194929.
  29. ^ Lawson, Erma Jean; Tanya L. Sharpe (July 1, 2000). Black Men and Divorce: Implications For Culturally Competent Practice. Minority Health Today
  30. ^ Goodwin, James S.; William C. Hunt; Charles R. Key; Jonathan M. Sarmet (1987). "The Effect of Marital Status on Stage, Treatment, and Survival of Cancer Patients". Journal of the American Medical Association. 258 (21): 3125–30. doi:10.1001/jama.258.21.3125. PMID 3669259.
  31. ^ Engstrom, G.; F. A. Khan; E. Zia; I. Jerntorp; H. Pessah-Rasmussen; B. Norrving; L. Janzon (2004). "Marital dissolution is followed by an increased incidence of stroke". Cerebrovascular Disease. 18 (4): 318–24. doi:10.1159/000080770. PMID 15359099.
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