Essay on Divorce and Consequences for Child Development

Essay on Divorce and Consequences for Child Development

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The dissolution of a marriage, or ‘divorce’ as it is known, was once an infrequent occurrence and often considered the failure of a wife to maintain a happy marriage (Lewis, 2013). Following a change in legislation in the 1960s that allowed partners to end their marriage without having to provide justification, in conjunction with the sexual liberation movement, the incidence of divorce more than doubled (Wilcox, 2009). According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2012), the number of marriages ending in divorce has continued to rise, however, despite an increase in social acceptance, the negative impact divorce has on children has remained prevalent (Kelly & Emery, 2004). It is imperative for researchers to assess the repercussions of divorce in order to learn how to efficiently minimise the negative impact it has on those involved. Studies have shown that children of divorce often experience high levels of psychological distress due to the alteration of family dynamics, as well as the experience of loss, grief and the fear of abandonment (Kelly, 2000). Such powerful disruptions within a child’s microsystem can result in ongoing behavioural difficulties, as the child may have developed destructive schemas during the times of considerable stress (Kim, 2011). An increase in stress can be detrimental to the child’s social and academic performance, which could contribute to lifelong complications (Potter, 2010). Despite this, it is important to remember that whilst the process of divorce and its aftermath can create significant emotional disturbance for some, it also marks the dissolution of an unhealthy relationship, which can result in the cessation of exposure to negativity, such as arguments and fighting, for others (Strohs...


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...s. Marriage & Family Review, 42, 7-28. doi:10.1300/J002v42n02_02
Shansky, J. (2002). Negative effects of divorce on child and adolescent psychosocial adjustment. Journal of Pastoral Counseling, 37, 73-87. http://0-search.proquest.com.prospero.murdoch.edu.au/docview/236056020?accountid=12629
Statistics, A. B. o. (2012). Marriages and divorces, Australia. from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Products/3310.0~2012~Chapter~Divorces?OpenDocument
Strohschein, L. (2005). Parental divorce and child mental health trajectories. Journal of Marriage and Family, 67, 1286-1300. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2005.00217.x
Taylor, R., & Andrews, B. (2009). Parental depression in the context of divorce and the impact on children. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 50, 472-480. doi:10.1080/10502550902970579
Wilcox, W. B. (2009). The evolution of divorce. National Affairs, 1, 81-94.

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