Research Paper Over Divorce

Does divorce usually lead to long-term negative consequences for children?


Effects of Divorce

            The effects divorce has children have been studied by many different psychologists over the years. These researchers have drawn varying conclusions based off their findings. The response of children to divorce depends on several factors.  These include the child’s age, gender, and the amount of conflict between the parents.  In addition, these effects are attributed to whether or not the child lives full time with one parent or there is a joint-custody arrangement. 

            The child’s age is an important factor as it points to their understanding and maturity. Mary Temke of the University of New Hampshire attests to this in her article, “The Effects of Divorce on Children.” Toddlers, for instance, often blame themselves for their parent’s divorce. They may see the divorce as the consequence of their misbehavior. On the other hand, adolescents may be moody, or cope by taking special responsibility for the family. Furthermore, teens may favor one parent, blaming the other for the divorce. 

            Furthermore, the gender of the child plays a role as boys’ and girls’ response to the situation can vary. Temke writes that children raised by parents of the same sex tend to have greater success adjusting to the divorce than those who are raised by a parent of the opposite sex. Tamke concedes, however, that the child’s relationship with the primary parent is of more importance than the possibility of being raised by a parent of the opposite sex.

            In Chapter 7 entitled, “Understanding the Stress Responses of Children Caught in Postdivorce Conflict” from the book Divorce Wars: Interventions with Families in Conflict Elizabeth Ellis discusses the problem of divorce when the parents are in conflict.  Ellis sites Janet Johnston’s study in 1980 in which she discusses the children’s age as an important factor in how they handle conflict. The tension between the parents would surface during visitation. The younger children often exhibit more emotional responses such as frowning and crying during contention. Children then go through a stage when they shy away from the fights between their parents or try to stop the fighting between them.  However, when children reach the late elementary school years, avoiding the conflict tends to be a high priority.  It is around this age that the child normally sides with one parent over the other.


              In a study entitled “Effects of Father and Mother Parenting on Children’s Mental Health in High-and Low-Conflict Divorces” conducted by Irwin Sandler, Jonathan Miles, Jeffrey Cookston, and Sanford Braver the focus is on the child’s psyche and how it is affected by the divorce. This is influenced with the level of intimacy they have with their mother (who has custody and their father who has visitation rights and the conflict they have between them. Studies have shown the growing complications in the conflict between the parents, the effectiveness of their parenting, and the emotional stability of the child. Retrogression evaluations were used to see how the child internalized and externalized dilemmas. This study points to the age and sex of the child of the initial importance, followed by the parental intimacy with their child and the conflict with each other.  This study shows that if the child has a good relationship with at least one parent, it is beneficial in a troubled divorce. 




Divorce: Long-Term Consequences on Children


Jeffrey Freedman


The Issue:

            My research paper is about the possible consequences of divorce on children in the long-term.  Being one of the children of divorced children, this topic immediately sparked my interest.  In 2005, marriages within their first ten years suffered a 60% divorce rate.  This statistic is extremely high and has possible negative effects on the children involved.


Major Findings:

            Throughout my research I have come across many different interesting facts regarding the effects of divorce on children later on in life.  Three facts jumped out at me as the most shocking, and therefore the most interesting.  This first is that the younger the child is during the divorce, the greater the likelihood of long-term negative consequences.  Seeing as how most divorces occur during the first ten years of marriage means that there will be more children who will suffer in the long-term.  Another interesting fact is that males are more negatively impacted by divorce than females.  I found this interesting since females have long been considered the more “sensitive and emotional” of the two genders.  This fact however supports the contrary.  The third interesting fact that I came across is that individuals whose parents divorce at a young age are significantly more likely to marry young, divorce, remarry, and experience long-term difficulty with interpersonal relationships.  This shows that divorce leads to divorce, which means that many generations will suffer the negative consequences of divorce.



(2004) Does divorce create long-term negative effects for children? Retrieved on December 4, 2008 from


This website had many facts and statistics on divorce and its effects on children.  The site is very well organized also.


Rodriguez, H., & Arnold, C. (2008, October) CHILDREN & DIVORCE: A SNAPSHOT Retrieved on December 4, 2008 from


Another very interesting website, full of multiple statistics and consequences of divorce on children in the short, intermediate, and long-term.





Saposnek, D. T., (2002, February) How Are The Children Of Divorce Doing? Retrieved on December 4, 2008 from


This website presents the findings of two conflicting researchers: Judith Wallerstein and Joan Kelly.  Both of these researchers came to different conclusions on the effects of divorce on children in the long-term.




Divorce: What It Really Does to the Children Involved


The Issue

            My paper is about the consequences of divorce on the children involved in it. I find this subject interesting because lots of my friends whose parents are divorced lead relatively normal lives, and it seems like the divorce does not affect them emotionally or mentally. This is important because many children are involved in divorce, and may be negatively affected because of it.


Major Findings

            I found many facts that do prove that divorce negatively affects children involved in the divorce. For example, although most children of divorcees do not have teenage pregnancy or drop out of high school, children who have divorced parents are twice as likely to have a teenage pregnancy or drop out of high school than children who have married parents or parents that are still together (Arnold 1).  Statistics also show that children who are involved with the divorce of their parents are more likely to have severed relationships with their parents rather than children whose parents are not divorced. Finally, children involved with divorce usually suffer from emotional trauma, economical problems, and troubles in school rather than in children whose parents are still married or together (Aylon).



Arnold, C. &  Rodriguez, H. (1998, October). Children & Divorce: A Snapshot. Center for Law & Social Policy


A source that gives many statistics on children who have been affected by divorce.


Aylon, O. & Adina, F. (1993). Chain Reaction: Children and Divorce. London: Briston, Penn.


Consequences of children who’ve been through divorce.


Jeynes, William. (2002). Divorce, Family, Structure, and the Academic Success of Children. New York : Haworth Press,


How divorce affects the structure of family and success of children in school.




Divorce and its Effects on Children


Marcus Johnson


            Does a divorce between parents have long lasting effects on children?  If so, in what ways are they affected?  Coming from a family of divorced parents, I have always been interested in what research says about this topic in comparison with my own personal experiences.  It is important for these questions to be answered so that we are well aware of what our children go through in the event of a divorce.


            There are a lot of aspects in a divorce that affect children in ways that aren’t always apparent.  For instance, one of the most important things that a child feels while being raised in a happily married family is a sense of security.  It’s difficult to maintain this sense of security during the traumatic events that take place during a divorce.  Also, a divorce can cause children to become vulnerable when dealing with relationships of their own.  Children of divorce have a desire to be wanted or appreciated, and may gain a skewed image of a healthy relationship.  Finally, one of the most noticeable effects a divorce has on children is a gaining of resentment towards the parents.  Often feeling cheated and caught in the middle, kids will often act out in ways that they would not normally do.  These actions are all considered to be direct results of a divorce.


            One of the sources that I found useful when doing my research was an article written by Alan L. Frankel, L.C.S.W, called Divorce and its Effects on kids, which outlined some of the things that children experience when dealing with a divorce.  Also a book called, Children of Divorce, by Craig A Everett provided information about the role that children play in the family that is dealing with a divorce.  Finally, one of my favorite sources was an interview with Robert Hughes, Jr, PhD, titled Divorce and Children.  It provided answers to specific questions regarding the responses by children who go through a divorce.  These and many other sources provided information from different perspectives that helped me gain understanding on the subject of divorce, and the long term effects it has on children.




Does Divorce Have an Effect on Children?


Ashley Richard


The Issue:

            The topic I chose for my paper was divorce and whether it leads to long-term negative consequences for children or not. I found this topic very intriguing because I am actually a child of two divorced parents and have always wondered why I dealt with my parents’ divorce differently than other children of divorced parents. Also, I found this to be a good subject to research because of the large number of divorce that takes place in our country. If we knew the answer to this question, in the future we could help parents of broken marriages use the correct approaches when dealing with their divorce.


Major Findings:

            After all my research on divorce and its long term effects on children, I have realized now that there is no simple answer. The outcome of the divorce varies per family and because of several different factors. However, after reviewing my journal source, I realized that the marital status of being divorce, the amount of control the parents have, and the quality of the parenting skills are the factors that directly cause the largest amount of negative effects on a child’s  behavior. Furthermore, the sex of the parent with custody, the economic strain in the household, co-parental conflicts, and the custodial parent’s difficulty in coping with their multiple roles are the factors that indirectly cause a smaller amount of negative effects on the child. I also learned that when children experience negative effects from divorce they experience it in two different ways, by internalizing and externalizing behavior. When a child is internalizing they seem to have too much control over t heir emotional state and express it by being shy or by depression. When a child is externalizing they don’t have control over the emotions they are feeling and they will express them by being aggressive and acting out. Therefore, while the effect divorce has on children varies family to family, sibling who experience the same divorce would most likely have the same effects since they come from the same family circumstances. Also, depending on the age of the child, they may experience different ways of dealing with the divorce and then these ways can turn into other outcomes after years pass. For instance, females seem to adapt to divorce easier than males but when they get older they are the ones that are most impacted by the divorce when it comes to their own intimate relationships.



Eloff, S. (2008, January 20). “An Exploration of the Ramifications of Divorce on Children and Adolescents.” The Child Advocate: Divorce Effects on Children. The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine. Retrieved November 20, 2008, from


This website article will be interesting because it lists all the different effects divorce has on children due to their age group. Therefore, if you’re looking for the effects divorce would have on a particular child you could see the most likely effects by looking up their age.


Frazee, K., Mailloux, M., Atkinson, E., Smith, S., Ungurian, P., Davison, M., & Buckle, A. (2004). Does Divorce Create Long-term Negative Effects for Children? Retrieved November 20, 2008, from


This website would be good to check out because it explains a more simple study where they receive their results straight from observing the children. The study they explain collected their results from talking with the child and observing their behavior.


Hilton, J. M., and Derochers, S. (2002). Children’s behavior problems in single-parent and married-parent families: Development of a predictive model. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage,Vol. 37 (13-33).


This would be an excellent reference to look up and read if interested in the subject. The journal is credible and gives a great amount of information on the topic. It also has an excellent, thorough study that takes place which give significant, detailed results. The study also lists all the facts that contribute to the different effects divorce has.


 Meyer, C. (2008). “Myths Surrounding Children and Divorce.” Divorce Support. Retrieved November 20, 2008, from


I think this online article will catch a lot of people’s interest because it goes over common, false beliefs people have over divorce and the contradicting truths. Therefore, you can receive basic knowledge by this article and correct common, yet false, beliefs you may have.




Long Term Effects of Divorce on Children

The Issue:

Divorce is a controversy that is studied expensively as it is becoming more common in the United States. The children are the main aspect of this split relationship that are affected, however the severity of the effects are dependent on several variables. I became interested in this subject because my parents recently filed for divorce and I wanted to know how it would affect me now, as well as in the future.  


Major Findings:

Divorce can have a considerable effect on the children involved in the failing marriage and can be expressed in a number of ways depends on age and sex.  According to Tempke (2006), children aged three through five will often blame themselves for the break up; children six through twelve are likely to fall into a state depression and/or act out repeatedly as well as randomly. Children aged thirteen through eighteen commonly are rushed into adulthood and have life-long emotional issues. The other factor is sex, girls usually find it easier, but will have emotional difficulty later in life. Boys on the other hand are likely to become aggressive and violent towards others, physically and emotionally (Oppawsky, 2000).  The best way to eliminate the display of these effects is for a parent to ease children into the situation with a heavy emphasis that it is not their fault. It is also important not to discuss problems regarding the other spouse with their children, but instead look to a therapist or friend for help (Eleoff, 3).



Grych, H. John; Fincham D. Frank. (1992). Interventions for Children of Divorce: Toward Greater Integration of Research and Action [Electronic Version]. Psychological Bulletin,  Volume III, 434-454. Retrieved November 21, 2008 from EBSCO host; University of Massachusetts Library: South Campus.


This journal article is beneficial because it discusses the effects of divorce in different context. It explains the effects in terms of the number a child is in the family and how that influences after effects.


Temke, W. Mary, Carman Rebecca (2006). The Effects of Divorce on Children [Electronic Version].. University of New Hampshire: Cooperative Extension, 1-2. Retrieved November 22, 2008, from Family and Human Resources at the University of New Hampshire. This journal article is helpful if trying to determine the specific age groups and the effects onchildren within those same age groups. It is useful because it explains what to expect from children of certain ages without over generalizing.  

Oppawsky, Jolene (2000). Parental Bickering, Screaming, and Fighting: Etiology of the Most Negative Effects of Divorce on Children from the View of the Children[Electronic Version].. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, Vol. 32, 142-147.


This journal article discusses the common emotions that are associated with children in a

divorce and what happens between children in parents in the stressful event.








Divorce has become a major issue in our society, and many causes have been attributed to the incline in divorce rates. Divorce rates have spiked during the past few decades and no on really knows why, but several theories have been formed in an attempt to explain this recent phenomena. Feminist theory, Individualism, and dual income theories will be discussed and analyzed to determine if they apply to the recent rise in divorce rates in North America. These theories do not act alone, that is, a not one of the above theories can be labeled as a definite cause of divorce, but when all three are examined together, a formula for divorce can be seen. The rise in divorce can not be, and should not be, attributed to a single theory, but rather the rise in divorce rates can be linked to all three, and one can see that these theories act collectively, as opposed to individually to cause the dramatic spike in divorce rates.

In recent years, Feminist theory has become pushed its way through traditional theory to become recognized. This theory directly applies divorce rates, as it taught women to stand up for their rights, and that they could do anything they wanted. This included activities that were previously occupied by men only. Feminist theory taught women that they did not need to depend on men for emotional support, financial support, or even to give them status in society, rather, feminist theory taught independence. Some forms of feminist theory has established that women do not need men to survive; a quote to back this up is one from Gloria Steinem, and she says “ A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” This backs up the idea that women do not need men to function, and this can be seen as a cause for a higher divorce rate. Some feminist theories are seen as extreme and Eva Figes displays the radical feminist theory when she says, “Either one goes on gradually liberating the divorce laws, until marriage stands exposed as a hollow sham in which no one would wish to engage, or one takes a short cut and abolishes marriage altogether.” (Figes, pg. 121, patriarchal attitudes, 1972, Feminism Opposing Viewpoints, 1986) Since feminism has shown women that they no longer need to rely on men for support, some of them have begun to remove men from their lives. This, in turn can be correlated with the spike in divorce rates since the beginning of the feminist movement. “The end of the institution of marriage is a necessary condition for the liberation of women. Therefore it is important for us to encourage women to leave their husbands…” -Declaration of Feminism. This idea, again, shows the way that feminist theory has attributed to the divorce rates. This idea is essentially telling women that they must divorce their husbands in order to liberate women. This idea directly tells women to divorce their husbands in order to be liberated, and to aid in the liberation in all women. This is a main reason that Feminist theory has aided in the rise of divorce rates since the start of the feminist movement.

A second theory on the rise of divorce rates is the theory of individualism. William J. Goode says that “In our time people have been reducing their personal investments in the collectivity of the family.” (Goode, pg. 9, World Changes in Divorce Patterns, 1993) This statement accurately portrays the idea of individualism as it is saying that people of the past few decades have stopped emphasizing the collectivity of society, and on a smaller scale family, and have begun to focus on personal gain and investment. Individualism is a mainly North American viewpoint that involves placing emphasis on the individual, rather than focusing on the group. Individualism looks at the “I” instead of the “We”, and this can be translated into a cause of the recent divorce rates seen in North America. With individualism, people stop staying together for the kids; if a person from an individualistic society feels unhappy, or just simply wants out, they get out. Along with individualism has come a need for personal happiness. Goode believes this may be a reason for the rise in divorce rates and says, “One might also suggest that the culprit has been the incorrigible romanticism of this population, cherishing the dream of romantic life in marriage, believing in the individual’s right to pursue happiness, so that the grubby reality of daily married life seems to many a personal defeat.” (Goode, pg. 180-181, World Changes in Divorce Patterns, 1993) This shift from cultural values to individual values has put major pressure and stress on existing ideas about what marriage is about. It is this stress that leads to many splits; therefore one can presume that individualism correlates with divorce.

A third theory about the rise in divorce rates is a theory brought on by feminist and individualist theory. This is the idea that more families are converting to a dual-income household; that is; both partners in marriage are working and pursuing separate careers. Some people believe that some of these careers move away from each other and can pull two partners apart so each individual can pursue his or her career. Most dual-income families spend less time together than single income families; therefor these families have less time to grow to love each other and more time to grow apart. This theory can also be linked to divorce rates in the sense that if you are focused on making a career work, then it becomes more difficult to provide the focus it takes to make a marriage work. People are just giving up on marriage because it has become less important to them than economical status. The need for dual income families has, indeed, shifted mentalities to economics, rather than marriage or love, and this can impact on existing marriages. When it became almost necessary for both partners to have careers, a strain was put on marriages, and this strain has aided in the spike of divorce rates. The focus is no longer on traditional male/breadwinner, female/homemaker roles, and this has been hard to adapt to for many people. Some people can not adapt, or could not adapt quickly enough to this change, so the force of separate careers pulled couples apart, often times ending marriages in divorce. A branch of the dual income effect is role conflict. Role conflict exists when there is scarce time to be divided between work and family. Gary L. Cooper and Suzan Lewis say “When people feel torn between the needs of their children and the demands of work, the subsequent conflict can be very distressing.” (Cooper, Lewis, pg. 78, Managing The New Work Force, 1994) This distress can, and often does lead to separation, or, in some cases, Divorce. Cooper and Lewis go on to say “ Problems may arise if partners lack the time and energy to provide the practical or emotional support associated with having a homemaker wife.” (Cooper, Lewis, pg. 120, Managing The New Work Force, 1994) this is essentially saying that with the incorporation of new family ideas comes a change from traditional roles, that, in turn, may produce a lack of actions or support that has grown to be the norm in society. This can cause many problems as dual income situations may remove comfort areas of a relationship and, by doing this, a more stressful situation is created, which may eventually lead to divorce.

Each of these theories can provide valuable insight on the rise of divorce rates over the past sixty years, but not one can be considered a cause, and one can not be labeled as more important than the other can. Feminist theory brings up a good point in the sense that it discusses the liberation of women and the new ideas and rights of women today. The points listed above are solid arguments to support the fact that divorce rates do correlate with the feminist movement. The same can be said for dual income families. One can see that there is a correlation with the movement from traditional families and an increase in divorce rates. Again, the same can be said for individualism. With society moving from collectivism into individualism, the sense of family solidarity can be lost. This is why all three theories are applicable to the rise of divorce rates, and these rates will continue to rise as societal value changes.

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