The Effects of Divorce on Children's Mental Health Essay

The Effects of Divorce on Children's Mental Health Essay

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Considering that over 45 percent of marriages today end in divorce, it is crucial to understand recent research regarding the positive and negative effects of divorce on children’s mental health. Studies have shown that although children of broken homes generally have more adjustment difficulties than children of intact families, the distinction between these two groups appears to be much less significant than previously assumed (1). In the case of parental separation, studies suggest that children undergo a decline in the standard of living, exhibit poorer academic performance, engage in increased alcohol/ substance abuse, as well as experience diminishing rates of employment. However, underlying factors must be taken into consideration when assessing the long-term consequence of divorce on children, which happens to be resiliency rather than dysfunction (1). These key contextual factors that influence post-divorce adjustment include parenting styles, custody arrangements, age of the child, financial stability, and most importantly, the nature and magnitude of parental conflict. Persistent, unsettled conflict or violence is linked to greater emotional anxiety and psychological maladjustment in children, whereas negative symptoms like fear and insecurity are reduced when parents resolve their conflicts through compromise and negotiation. Although divorce unveils many risk factors involving a child’s health, it may be more beneficial rather than detrimental to children living in highly discorded families, in which children are able to acquire externalizing and internalizing behaviors (1). The development of coping skills and living in a supportive and empathetic environment are two crucial components for children to manage their ne...


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...tal divorce: How much do children benefit? Journal of Marriage and Family, 63(2), 446-457.
5) Vanassche, S., Sodermans, A. K., Matthijs, K., & Swicegood, G. (2013). Commuting between two parental households: The association between joint physical custody and adolescent wellbeing following divorce. Journal of Family Studies, 19(2), 139-158.
6) Amato, P. R. (2000). The consequences of divorce for adults and children. Journal of Marriage and Family, 62(4), 1269-1287.
7) Gähler, M., & Garriga, A. (2013). Has the association between parental divorce and young adults' psychological problems changed over time? evidence from sweden, 1968-2000. Journal of Family Issues, 34(6), 784-808.
8) Halgin, R. P. (2005). Taking sides. Guilford, Conn: McGraw-Hill/Dushkin.
9) Arkowitz, Hal, and Scott O. Lilienfeld. (2013). "Is Divorce Bad for Children?". Scientific American Mind. 24(1).

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