Effects of Divorce on Adults and Children By Nicole Townsend
Divorce was only a “fault” option until 1969 in California
Parents are able to enhance their children’s well being post divorce by keeping positive activities in their lives and doing things together. By doing these, parents are able to minimize the effects of divorce on children somewhat.
Children’s reactions to divorce are dependent on three factors: 1) the quality of their relationship with each of their parents before the separation, 2) the intensity and duration of the parental conflict, and 3) the parents’ ability to focus on the needs of their children in the divorce. Older studies showed boys had greater social and academic adjustment problems than girls. New evidence indicates that when children have a hard time, boys and girls suffer equally; they just differ in how they suffer.
Boys are more externally symptomatic-acting out anger/frustration/hurt
Girls internalize their distress-may become depressed, develop headaches/stomach aches, changes in eating or sleep patterns.
Hypothesis After experiencing a divorce, women will tend to be more closed off and guarded about who they really get close to, along with trying to make as many people happy as they can. Men on the other hand, can almost go into a state of denial, and try covering their feelings by dating sooner. They may also cope by doing things they wouldn’t normally do (taking risks, hanging out with dangerous friends, going to bars) trying to fill the void, so to speak. Girls will have a sense of abandonment and probably develop trust issues along with wanting to make sure that all of their relationships are secure. Boys will be more inclined to take up the role of the “man of the house” along with protecting others. They may also put on a façade to look happy when they are really hurting on the inside. All members of a divorce, parents and children alike, will probably go through a stage of rebellion soon after the divorce because they have new found freedom or in an attempt to get back at the adult(s) for causing it, or to seek the attention they feel they have lost by losing someone through divorce.
Fifteen children- nine girls, six boys aged between nine and eighteen years old.
Twenty-five adults- thirteen women, twelve men between thirty and sixty years old.
All participants have experienced at least one divorce up until present time.
Three children and six adults have either just finished divorce procedures, or are currently in the process of finishing them.
Each group (adults and children) got a separate set of questions.
Children were given a survey of thirteen questions.
Adults were given a survey of fourteen.
Both groups stated their age and sex at the top.
At the end of each survey, there was an area for any other thoughts or feelings that participants felt were relevant to my study.
Children’s Questions: Age: Sex: How long have your parents been divorced? How old were you at the time of the divorce? How was your life at home before the divorce? Was the divorce a good change or a bad change? Why, what has changed? Did you expect it to happen? Explain. Did you feel responsible? If yes, how so? How did any friendships or grades change? Have your parents remarried/dated? Do you/did you like any of them? Do you wish you saw more of the other parents/family? Why? Did you have anyone to talk to about the divorce? (Friends in similar situations/professional help?) How do you feel about divorce in general? What have you learned about people/relationships? What did you do after the divorce? Please share anything else you feel Adult’s Questions: Age: Sex: Did your parents get a divorce while you were a child? How long have you been divorced? How many children do you have and how often do you see them? (vs. the other parent) Have you been married or divorced before this, or is this your first one? Did you try to fix your marriage professionally before getting a divorce? How long did it take you to date? Why did/didn’t you wait? How clean of a break was the divorce? Was the divorce a mutual agreement for you and your ex? How close are you to your ex now (post-divorce)? Do you wish things could be different? How so? Do you have any regrets? What has changed for you since the divorce? Good change/bad change? How do you feel you have changed as a parent due to the effects of the divorce? What did you do after the divorce? Please share anything else you feel
Results General results Many of the participants said that the first things they did right after the divorce was spend money. Women that got a settlement said that they went out to get the things they needed, and then blew the rest on something in order to feel good. Many of the children (five girls and four boys) felt like they wanted to get in trouble more, and that they didn’t feel as inclined to do their homework or chores when asked. They also said that they felt unsure of other relationships due to the fact that one that was supposed to be together had fallen apart. The older children (two girls and one boy, ages 17 and 18) said that they feel they developed trust issues with others after the divorce because they were too afraid to make a commitment then have it end too soon.
Most of the effects of divorce are dependant upon life before the divorce; a more unhappy home life will result in a continually unhappy one. A family that is very close prior to the divorce, will probably stay relatively close after the divorce.
Adults seem to transition better than children do to post divorce life
I am able to accept my hypothesis.
If I were to do this again, I would conduct a more in-depth study, with more participants and more questions. Possibly a partial in-person interview.
Anyone that is considering divorce can benefit from this research. Seeing the effects on yourself and the people around you may make you think twice about getting a divorce.
Corcoran, K. O. . (1997). Psychological and emotional aspects of divorce. Retrieved from http://www.mediate.com/articles/Psych.cfm
Kimmel, M. S. (2008). The Gendered Media. In The Genderd Society (3rd ed., pp. 157-162). New York: Oxford University Press. (Original work published 2000)
Lye, D. N. (1999). What the Experts say: scholarly research on post-divorce parenting and child well-being. Report to the Washington State Gender and Justice Commission and Domestic Relations Commission, Retrieved from http://188.8.131.52/search?q=cache:Acs1lzZmo7cJ:www.thelizlibrary.org/liz/chap4.doc+SCHOLARLY+RESEARCH+ON+POST-DIVORCE+PARENTING+AND+CHILD+WELL-BEING&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us