The issue of divorce has been paid considerable attention for the last few decades. The reason for that is the fact that many modern couples lose their understanding of family values and proceed to the stage of separation of property acquired during their marriage. Such situations are less painful for the couples who had previously entered into a prenuptial contract. Those who do not enter into contracts undergo judicial dilution. While dealing with the question of property, couples often cannot come to a mutual agreement as to whom the house belongs to and who should get the car. The process of divorce is aggravated if there are children in the family. Usually, both parents are struggling for the right of guardianship over their children. Hence, the latter are involved in this process. Consequently, they suffer from their parents’ divorce more than their parents do. Additionally, divorce negatively impacts children’s lives since they experience different short-term and long-term effects caused by the turbulent family atmosphere. Children may suffer from depression, anxiety, constant stress, intense sadness, and other mental disorders. In terms of long-term effects, they might have behavioral problems or become prone to substance abuse. Their emotional state, psychological well-being, and academic performance tend to be significantly affected by parental separation. Furthermore, the bigger the conflict and the longer it lasts, the more children seem to be affected. Children who experienced parental divorce usually suffer from different psychological problems, which tend to have a continuous effect on their future lives.
Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Divorce on Children
The psychological well-being and academic performance of children who experience their parental divorce significantly suffer, both before and after the divorce process. A recent research on the effects of divorce on children (Sun & Li, 2002) suggests that the latter can be affected both prior to divorce process and after it. The study examines children’s psychological well-being and academic performance at two points in time before the parental divorce and at two points after. Furthermore, during the research, the effect of marital disruption process on boys and girls is examined. The sample of the study consists of 9,524 students living in single-parent, stepparent, or other-guardian families. All of the students were surveyed in accordance to particular methods. First, their educational achievement and psychological well-being were measured according to seven indicators including tests, questions, and pool-time series models. A a result of the study, it was determined that children experience short-term and long-term effects of their parents’ divorce. Hence, the results of the survey showed that students who were in the midst of the disruption process scored lower than those who lived in continuously married families. Furthermore, the surveyed group of students reported damage to self-esteem before and after the divorce of their parents. The study analyses and compares the v effects of divorce on children three years before the event and three years after it. Nevertheless, there are still some relevant problems to be addressed. The current study has failed to find much evidence of the constant-effects time pattern. Consequently, further research is required to examine this issue.
Once children experience the divorce process of their parents, they may suffer from such post-divorce symptoms as parental estrangement, transitory adjustment problem, conflicting loyalty, internalized chronic stress, and parental alienation. The most interesting study of this issue was proposed by Barnett (2015) who identified a set of challenges children face during high-conflict divorces. Hence, according to the results of the study, the majority of children experience parental estrangement during and after the dissolution of marriage. Moreover, children tend to reject their parents. This behavior may result from the fact that a child can refuse to have any relationship with a parent who previously neglected or abandoned the family. Another issue children often face is the transitory adjustment problem. The study indicates that children may suffer from such post-divorce symptoms as excessive worrying, anger, oppositional behavior, impaired social relationships, and compromised school performance due to the fact that they should move to another place. Another challenge identified by the researcher is the issue of loyalty conflict. For instance, when parents continue arguing and a child wants to be with both of them, they can suffer from cognitive dissonance and an uncomfortable mental state. In addition, such health issues as sleeping problems, headaches, stomachaches, tenseness, and sadness may occur due to the protracted conflict. One of the most important challenges identified by the researchers was the issue of parental alienation. It is a mental condition, in which children are close to one of the parents and refuse the other (Barnett, 2015). Hence, in order to eliminate the negative consequences of parental divorce, children should be taught how to develop a degree of conflicting loyalty.
Children and adults who have experienced the divorce process have lower living standards. A study performed by the researcher Amato (2000) suggests that understanding the contingencies,of divorce is important for further research. Hence, it was determined that after the divorce, children and adults experience numerous stressful outcomes. Such outcomes are usually connected to the risk of emotional, behavioral, and health issues. Furthermore, it was stated that the severity and duration of these negative outcomes depend on the personality and the ability of the person to use various protective factors. The study states that children may suffer from such divorce effects as anxiety, mental imbalance, stress, social deviation, and exclusion. Parents who remain an object of the current study are reported to experience such divorce consequences as lower levels of psychological well-being, stress, and poorer self-esteem. The study concluded that children and adults experiencing divorce score lower than their counterparts in married families. Moreover, additional research should be conducted in order to find a solution to the issue of cohabiting between parents and children during and after the divorce process.
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The Effects of Divorce on Mother-Child Relationship
The relationship of a child and their mother can be negatively affected by divorce since children often feel a fear of abandonment during such a difficult time. A study of Wolchik, Tein, Sandler, and Doyle (2002) discusses the interrelation of fear of abandonment and divorce stressors and the quality of the mother-child relationship. The sample of the study comprises of 216 children, ages 8-12, and their mothers. In terms of methods of the study and data collection, children completed a subscale to examine the divorce stressors and their fear of abandonment (Wolchik, Tein, Sandler, & Doyle, 2002). Other subscales were used to assess the child-mother relationship during the last month. According to the results of the study, it was concluded that children felt as if their mothers would leave him or her. The assessment of the child-mother relationship concluded that poor relations with their mother or problems caused by divorce stressors can make children experience a number of psychological issues including aggression, anxiety, insufficient academic performance, social problems, and drug or alcohol abuse. The study contributes to the understanding of post-divorce outcomes in children and their mothers. Besides, the data collected during the research can be further examined to extend the knowledge on the current subject.
Divorce Effects on Children’s Adulthood
The effects of the divorce process do not manifest immediately, but have a continuous influence on children’s lives. The study of Wolchik et al (2013) examines the effects of divorce on young adults and their response. The sample of the study consists of 240 participants, including mothers and their children. During the study, young adults were asked about their mental health and substance-related disorders. The mothers responded to the aforementioned issues with the children. Hence, it was determined that the majority of young adults experienced disorders related to divorce outcomes. Some used alcohol, marijuana, and polydrugs. Others suffered from different mental disorders, such as anxiety, aggression, depression, stress, and social exclusion. The study has many strengths because it has been the first study to examine the effects of divorce on mental health and substance-related disorders among children during the years of their young adulthood. Furthermore, the randomized design, high levels of program implementation fidelity, and retention of participants enhance the internal validity of the study findings. In addition, the data collected during this research can be used for further examination of long-term effects on the adulthood of people who experienced the divorce of their parents.
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Since previous research has already determined that parental divorce can affect young adults, a further examination of this issue remains essential. A recent study conducted by Hannes Bohman, Sara Brolin, Laftman Aivar, Päären and Ulf Jonsson (2017) suggests that parental divorce not only affects young children, but also adolescents. The study analyses whether children who have experienced parental divorce in their childhood are likely to suffer from depression during adulthood. Additionally, it is aimed to examine whether the pattern differs between individuals with and without earlier depression. Hence, the case-control study was applied by researchers. The sample of the study included 227 adolescents with depression and 155 healthy ones (Bohman et al., 2017). The study found that adolescents with depression experienced parental divorce. Furthermore, it was indicated that adult depression is closely related to that recorded during the adolescent period. Research concluded that depression suffered in adulthood is interrelated to the depression which adolescents experience. The main strength of the study remains the use of community-based data. However, the only limitation is the fact that many participants did not actually participate in the follow-up. Nevertheless, the data collected during the study can be used in further research on the influence of parental separation on adolescents.
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The topic of the influence of parental separation on adulthood is further researched by Yarnoz-Yaben and Garmendia (2016) who focus their attention on the negative effects of parental divorce on adults’ functioning. The main objective of the study was to analyze the influence of parental divorce on the well-being of adults from divorced families. Hence, the sample of the study consisted of 964 participants, 45% of whom were women (Yarnoz-Yaben & Garmendia, 2016). Around 125 participants came from families where the parental divorce was usual (Yarnoz-Yaben & Garmendia, 2016). All participants completed an anonymous survey that included questions regarding their well-being, romantic status, current relationships, parental remarriage, and the experience of relationship between their divorced parents. The hypothesis of the study is that adults from divorced families would demonstrate an insufficient level of well-being. Online questionnaires were completed by participants in order to prove or refute the hypothesis. Eventually, the results of the study enabled one to confirm that people who experienced parental separation are less satisfied with life than those who came from non-divorced families. The strong side of the study was a vast number of participants, which expanded the opportunities for analysis. The results of the study can be used in further research.
The issue of divorce is one of the most common phenomena worldwide. Couples tend to split and separate their property. They often get involved in litigation aiming to take something from each other. Usually, children become the objects of their parents’ struggles. Hence, children may experience different emotional and mental problems, which will continue affecting them even in adolescence. Additionally, children may suffer from parental separation effects before the actual divorce and after it. Furthermore, they face many challenges, including parental estrangement, transitory adjustment problem, conflict loyalty, internalized chronic stress, and parental alienation. In addition, both children and adults may experience divorce outcomes. While children experience anxiety, mental imbalance, stress, social deviation, and exclusion, parents usually suffer from lower levels of psychological well-being, stress, and poorer selfesteem. Divorce mostly affects children and their relationship with mothers. Both sides tend to experience negative consequences of divorce, which leads to different psychological problems. The divorce process can cause not only short-term effects but long-term ones too. Hence, many adults continue suffering from various symptoms until their mature age. Moreover, adolescents can be also by continuous divorce effects. For instance, even many years after their parental divorce, adults tend to be less satisfied with their lives and romantic relationships. Such practices allow the well-being of those children. Overall, divorce has a large number of negative effects on children as well as on their parents.
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