An Overview of the Psychological Literature on the Effects of Divorce on Children

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Despite decades of psychological research, there is still considerable debate in the field concerning the effects of divorce on children. While most studies have reported at least some negative consequences of divorce for children, few, if any, have examined factors associated with children's positive adjustment. More recent research underscores our need to better understand the impact of marital conflict pre-divorce and family environment on child adjustment. Some children do well post-divorce and others do not. However, not enough is known to disentangle the impact of contextual factors that often accompany divorce (e.g., financial pressures and marital conflict) from the impact of the divorce itself. The Impact of Divorce vs. Marital Conflict Divorce: Recent research utilizing more sophisticated methodology than previous studies shows that while children of divorced parents overall have more adjustment problems than children of intact families, the differences between these two groups is smaller and less pronounced than previously believed. In fact, the majority of children of divorce fall within the normal range of adjustment on standardized measures. While it is often difficult to isolate the myriad of factors that impact children of divorce, research has established that they are at a higher risk for adjustment problems than children from intact families. For example, divorced children experience less financial security, lower academic achievement, more alcohol and cigarette use, and lower rates of employment as young adults. Although research has shown that there are long-term negative consequences of divorce, these consequences are more closely linked to educational attainment, rather than divorce per se. Moreover, the long-term consequence for most children of divorce is resiliency rather than dysfunction. Factors such as the age of the child, time since

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