The Effects of Divorce on Children

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The Effects of Divorce on Children As a child, there are many things that affect a view, memory, opinion, or attitude. Children have many of their own daily struggles to cope with, as peer pressures are an example. As an adult, we sometimes forget what it is like to be a child dealing with some of the childhood pressures. Many parents do not realize how something like divorce could possibly affect their children as much as it does themselves. As the case may be, children are strongly affected by divorce. Some react differently than do others, but all experience some kind of emotional change. Exposure to a highly stressful major life change event on children, which may overwhelm children's coping capacity, and thus compromising favorable adjustments (Garmezy, Masten, & Tellegen, 1984; Gersten, Langner, Eisenberg, & Simcha-Fagan, 1977; Rutter, 1983). Research has indicated that this is particularly true for children in the circumstances surrounding parental divorce, and in the immediate aftermath (see reviews by Emery, 1982, 1988; Hetherington & Camara, 1984). Compared to children of intact families, many children of recently divorced families are reported to demonstrate less social competence, more behavioral problems, more psychological distress, and more learning deficits (Amato & Keith, 1991a; Hetherington, 1972; Hetherington, Cox, & Cox, 1979, 1982; Peterson & Zill, 1983, 1986; Wallerstein & Kelly, 1980), and are over-represented in referrals to clinical services (Guidubaldi, Perry, & Cleminshaw, 1984; Kalter, 1977). Further, an accumulating body of evidence from longitudinal studies of divorce supports continuity of negative affects beyond the 2-year postdivorce crisis period in a substantial minority of ... ... middle of paper ... ...Carey & S. C. McDevitt (Eds.), Prevention and early intervention: Individual differences as risk factors for the mental health of children (pp. 179-189). Reid, W. J., & Crisafulli, A. (1990). Marital discord and child behavior problems: A meta-analysis. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 18, 105-117. Rutter, M. (1987). Psychosocial resilience and protective mechanisms. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 57, 316-331. Thomas, A., & Chess, S. (1980). The dynamics of psychological development. New York: Brunner/Mazel. Wallerstein, J. S., & Kelly, J. (1980). Surviving the break-up: How children actually cope with divorce. New York: Basic. Zill, N., Morrison, D. R., & Coiro, M. J. (1993). Long-term effects of parental divorce on parent-child relationships, adjustment, and achievement in young adulthood. Journal of Psychology, 7, 91-103.

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