Will divorce affect someone negatively in their long-term life?

I believed that almost everyone of you know people that have experienced parental divorce, if not yourself. My parents are not divorced but I am still very curious about this topic because I had few friends with divorced parents, which their feelings and actions reflect well the effect of their childhood tragedy. I also did date someone with divorced parents and it clearly affected our relationship. I always have been constantly discussing these issues with my friends, parents, professors etc … Thus, I would now like to pursue more research on this issues and find evidences to support what I have experienced. My hypothesis would be: Does divorce causes negative effects for people in their long-term life?

Seems at first that divorce effects the child badly in their long term situation.

From the articles that i have read, i found unexpected results. The first article I read talk about a survey of 500 children and teenagers of age 14-22. This was conducted by Revolution, a strong association of family lawyers in England and Wales. They found out that kids who experienced divorced are more likely to turn to drugs, alcohol, poor academic achievements or self harm. They also found that around a quarter of these children struggle to complete their school assignments be it homework or essays. 12% of them admit that they skipped class and 11% of them are getting themselves into more trouble at schools or college.


On the other hand, study in the US provide different results.

However, this point is being argued by another article that talks about the study of Constance Gager, a researcher of Montclair State University in New Jersey. The study does a national survey involved 7000 married couple, with only 1952 of them being eligible for the criteria to be in the experiment. Read the details of the study on this link. The findings were that children with divorced parents does better than those that did not. The researchers emphasize that this could be due constant exposure to parental conflicts, which could be worse than just one or two year of depression from the divorce.

Moreover, another study that was published by scientific american website. The article suggests that divorce did made an impact on children in the short-term but they are also pretty quick to recover from the event. Sociologist Paul Amato and PSU conducted a quantitative review of literature to find out the effects of divorce on children in their later life. The researchers looked at children with divorced parents and children with married parents. They followed the life of these children in their later stage of life and look at their education level, emotional and behavioral issues, personal beliefs and social relationships. The researchers found extremely small differences between these two types of children suggesting that divorced children fare pretty well.


Conclusion to draw from these studies?

The Gager study was probably less reliable as it only has 1952 valid participants in their study so the lack in numbers could affect the credibility of the results. However, both the Revolution and quantitative review were findings from multiple studies. This means that their results are probably more likely to be reliable but we should also bear in mind that it is still observational. Thus, we cannot really draw a clear answer to the effect of divorce because the information could be false especially since they both found different results.

Another things to take into account are third confounding variables such as culture; especially since the Revolution study was conducted in UK while the quantitative review in the US. For instance, UK children might be more prone to depression or initially less focus on their studies while US children might be better at coping with stress as their school might taught them more differently. Therefore, I would conclude that we cannot yet draw a conclusion on whether or not we can accept the hypothesis. I believe that more elaborate scientific methods needs to be conducted to find stronger results.

By Dhaam Sakuntabhai








6 thoughts on “Will divorce affect someone negatively in their long-term life?

  1. Yixiao Jiang

    It is an interesting article. Actually, I have read an article in newspaper discuss the divorce influences. One of the major influences shows there is that the people whose parents were divorced are more likely to get divorce in their relationship. Although I do not remember what is the exact reason cause that solution, people’s behaviors are largely influences by their parents. That is a little information I want to add.

  2. Maura Katherine Maguire

    Really interesting post. I cannot relate to this topic because I myself have never experienced parents going through divorce, but I can imagine how relevant this article is to many students. This post really helped my understand why my friends have acted differently and shut me out. This post really made me think about what I could do better to help my friends who are going through a tough time with divorced parents. While it is hard to make a complete conclusion, this is a good post with helpful statistics.

  3. Randall Stansbury

    I think that is it always hard to collect data on different people and their relationships because every relationship is unique and different. For example if your parents have a “bad” divorce, it may effect you more than if your parents have a better more friendly divorce, or if they get divorced when you are small, or a lot older. I think that there are really too many confounding variables to see a clear connection between a child’s well-being and their parents relationship.

  4. Sean Kyle Reilly

    Hey Dhaam!

    Divorce is always an unfortunate situation when it occurs. However, I find it interesting that the range of how well a child does following a divorce tends to be from the influence of some type of third variable more so than anything. Factors such as wealth, time frame, and even attention gained or lost surrounding the child following the divorce are likely more influential than the initial separation of their parents itself. Unfortunately, divorce is more of a 20th century occurrence due to societal changes, and its overall positive or negative ramifications are still heavily debated on and studied. Only time will tell, just like with many issues, on the subject of divorce. Either way, your post was fantastic, and keep up the great work!

  5. Raegan S Pechar

    Being a child of divorce, I found this particularly interesting. I feel as though divorce is such a commonality in today’s day and age, to the point where parents sticking together is almost a foreign concept to many. Luckily for me, my parents divorced far before I could even speak, but for my friends, it took a heavy toll on them throughout their adolescence. I think this is a difficult question to study, in that everyone’s at home life is different, and everyone reacts to stress in different ways. For instance, my closest friend had her parents divorce in middle school, and she graduated HS .02pts from being valedictorian. On the other hand, I also know people who’ve lost their marbles after the divorce and are really struggling. I think the studies are a good start, but there are a lot of confounding third variables to be considered. This is a concept that needs various studies, because the outcomes are differing and broad.

  6. Tyler Olson

    As an extension of this line of thought, I would be interested to see if the time parents divorced had any effect on the life of the child. If parents divorced while a child is still in early grade school, would the results be different than if a child, like my dad, had his or her parents divorce during their late adolescence or while the child was still a toddler. Lumping in all children whose parents divorced without controlling for age might be creating a confounding variable. Might an teenager whose parents divorce decide to rebel and party a lot more in college than a kid who lived in a divorced household all their life and thus had a more stable situation through their developing years?

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