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How Does Divorce Affect Children? Literature Review

1221 words - 5 pages

How divorce can affect children and teens while growing up in today's society.Most of the information is gathered from parents and their observations of their children, but parents who have had marital problems may have an altered psychological well being and therefore affect the results negatively. (Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry) Children from divorced families are on "average" somewhat worse off than children who have lived in intact families. These children have more difficulty in school, more behavior problems, more negative self-concepts, more problems with peers, and more trouble getting along with their parents. (The Effects of Divorce on Children, Robert Hughes Jr.) It is likely that children of divorced parents experience more difficulty in school than those with intact families, but this information is difficult to gather as students' marks are so personal. Most commonly, children had trouble in five categories, behavioural problems, parental loss, emotional and psychological problems, economic difficulties and future relationship difficulties.The literature that was selected were summaries or direct results of studies conducted on children with divorced parents. This review is divided into five sub-categories of observed trends. The literature that is included is mainly that which is written by Americans about children in the United States. Canadian studies are much harder to find online as most websites are American-based.Behavioural ProblemsParental divorce was the strongest predictor of children's behavioral problems. They were reported to have various behavioral and emotional problems, aggressive behavior, withdrawal, and social problems. Children of divorce were almost 12 times more likely to present behavioral problems than those from intact families. (Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Xianchen Liu) On a measure of behavioral problems, Hetherington (1993) reports that 90% of adolescent boys and girls in intact families were within the normal range on problems and 10% had serious problems that would generally require some type of help. The percentages for divorced families were 74% of the boys and 66% of the girls in the normal range and 26% of the boys and 34% of the girls were in the problematic range. MOST children in divorced families do not need help, but MORE children in this group than in intact families are likely to need help (The Effects of Divorce on Children, Robert Hughes Jr.) Among teenage and adult populations of females, parental divorce has been associated with precocious sexual activity and greater delinquent-like behavior. Adolescent girls who had experienced parental divorce when they were younger than six or between six and nine years old reported becoming involved with alcohol or drugs in proportions higher than did girls from intact families. (How Divorce Affects Children, Mitchell Miller)Parental LossHaving supportive adults is very...

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