Adolescence is known as a challenging time with the everyday stressors that the adolescent is forced to face. When an adolescent has to experience a parental divorce, it often has detrimental effects on their health and wellbeing. With divorce becoming more and more common within families, the effect that it has on adolescents is often more intense than realised by parents. It is becoming increasingly important to investigate this matter as approximately 50% of parental divorces involve children under the age of 18. (Schroeder, Osgood & Oghia, 2010). These adolescents are placed at a considerable overall disadvantage compared to adolescents whose parents have remained together. This essay will give a detailed explanation of the effects of divorce on adolescent achievement, substance use and psychological well-being. The role of parental conflict, economic hardship and living situations will also be investigated in order to explore the various risk and protective factors that may have and influence on the adolescent’s welfare during and subsequent to parental divorce.
A study conducted by Tomcikova, Geckova, Orosova, and Reijneveld (2009) investigated parental divorce and its effect on the rates of adolescent drunkenness and delinquency. The role of the family’s socioeconomic position, social support and psychological well-being were all considered when the study was conducted. Data from 3,694 elementary school students (mean age 14.3) was obtained from cities in Slovakia. Participants were required to complete questionnaires on how many times they had been drunk in the previous 4 weeks, as well as information regarding if their parents were divorced, their socio-economic status, the composition of the family household (if they lived with one or two parents, and if step parents were present), social support levels from their family as well as their own well-being in general. Tomcikova et al. found that parental divorce had a significant effect on adolescent drunkenness, there was also correlation found with higher rates of depression and anxiety than those with in-tact families.
It was also noted that parental divorce had a stronger influence on drunkenness frequency than low parental support and poor socioeconomic position. This shows that parental divorce has an extremely powerful and persistent influence on adolescent delinquency, risk behaviours and mental health. In addition, it has been found that parental divorce puts adolescents at a higher risk of taking up smoking in order to reduce their anxieties about the parental conflict they are experiencing (Kristjansson, Sigfusdottir, Allegrante & Helgason, 2009).
Another study that provides a strong argument on how parental divorce has a negative influence on adolescent well-being was conducted by Esmaeili, Yaacob, Juhari, and Mariani (2011) who aimed to investigate factors such as economic hardship and academic achievement of adolescents who had previously faced parental divorced. There...