--Original published at Isabella's Psychology Blog
October 8, 2018
Spotlight Post 1
A child’s life revolves around their parents and their parents’ decisions. Divorce can disrupt a child’s life because it affects the parents and the parent’s decisions. A divorce is when two married people legally terminate their marriage to separate from each other. Divorce also includes the division of the couple’s assets, possessions, and custody of children. Unlike many things, children cannot be divided, so designated times are assigned for each parent to spend with the children. As divorce rates are increasing one question is continuously brought up. Is divorce harmful to children?
The peer-reviewed article “The Impact of Family Structure on the Health of Children: Effect of Divorce” was written by Dr. Jane Anderson argues divorce is harmful to children. Dr. Jane Anderson works for the University of California as a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and is a board member of the American College of Pediatricians. In Dr. Anderson’s article, she used fifty-five databases, research studies, articles from scientific journals to evaluate the current understanding of how divorce affects children, parents, and society. Divorce’s effects on children are broken down into eight points. Each point is then supported by at least three different sources. The first three points of the article are the child losses time with each parent, economic security, and emotional security. The next points are that children change their view on sexual behavior, loss of religious faith or practice, and loss of cognitive stimulation. Then the final two points of the article were children have larger risks of emotional distress and are less healthy. (Anderson)
The second source arguing divorce is harmful to children is a journal article from the American Sociological review “Consequences of Parental Divorce for Child Development” written by Hyun Sik Kim. This article was presented at the Population Association of America 2010 meeting and received positive feedback. In the article, Hyun Kim researched the different effects kids experienced in testing before, during, and post-divorce. Children scored lower on academic tests during and post-divorce, decreased in interpersonal skills during and post-divorce, and increased in internalizing behavior post-divorce. These results show that divorce negatively affects the children of divorce. (Kim)
The research study “Feeling Caught Between Parents: Adult Children’s Relations With Parents and Subjective Well‐Being” results support the argument that divorce is not harmful to children. This study took place in 2006 and authored by Paul R. Amato from Pennsylvania State University. In this study 632 young adults whom all had various parental marital situations filled out a three-question survey about their relationships with their parents. The parental marital situations were categorized as married low-conflict, married high-conflict, and divorced. Results of this study show children of divorced parents were the least drawn into parental disputes and least likely to favor one parent over the other. Divorced children were shown to have parents compete for affection for frequently than the other parental marital categories. The results of this study show that children of divorce are positively affected by divorce when it comes to parental relationships. This study is also credible since it had a large sample population for each category, was peer-reviewed, and was done through a credible organization. (Amato)
The results of the peer-reviewed research study “Adult Children’s Relationships With Married Parents, Divorced Parents, and Stepparents: Biology, Marriage, or Residence?” shows divorce is not harmful to children. The study is credible since it had over a thousand research participants and the author of this research study was Kalmijn Matthijs who is affiliated with the University of Amsterdam. Results of the study are that positive adult-child relationships are positively correlated with time spent together during childhood. So as long as the parents are active members of the child’s life, there should be no problems in the child’s relationships with the parents. (Kalmijn)
Based on my research, I agree with the stance that divorce is harmful to children. The sources which supported divorce being non-harmful mainly focus on the relationship between the child and the parent and nothing about the child’s development. Then finding the sources was hard to find too. Though when it came to finding sources about the harmful effects of divorce on children, there were hundreds of credible peer-reviewed articles and studies. For example, in just the article “The Impact of Family Structure on the Health of Children: Effect of Divorce” it had fifty-five relevant sources backing it up.
Amato, P. R. and Afifi, T. D. (2006), Feeling Caught Between Parents: Adult Children’s Relations With Parents and Subjective Well‐Being. Journal of Marriage and Family, 68: 222-235. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2006.00243.x
Anderson, Jane. “The Impact of Family Structure on the Health of Children: Effects of Divorce.” The Linacre Quarterly 81.4 (2014): 378–387. PMC. Web. 8 Oct. 2018.
Kalmijn, Matthijs. “Adult Childrens Relationships With Married Parents, Divorced Parents, and Stepparents: Biology, Marriage, or Residence?” Journal of Marriage and Family, vol. 75, no. 5, Mar. 2013, pp. 1181–1193. Quicksearch, doi:10.1111/jomf.12057.
Kim, Hyun Sik. “Consequences of Parental Divorce for Child Development.” American Sociological Review, vol. 76, no. 3, Mar. 2011, pp. 487–511. Quicksearch, doi:10.1177/0003122411407748.