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  • Family Fact of the Week: The Far-Reaching Impact of Divorce

    While divorce at any age comes with potentially negative effects, according to new research from Michigan State University, divorce at a younger age can hurt people’s health more than divorce that occurs later in life.

    In fact—given that younger couples are also more likely to have children living at home—the negative impact of divorce within this age cohort can go far beyond the health of the couple. Decades of research provide evidence that children living with both parents fare better in virtually every aspect of well-being.

    As research on Heritage’s FamilyFacts.org illustrates, adolescents who do not live in intact families are more likely to engage in substance abuse, exhibit behavioral problems, have poor academic performance, and engage in risky behavior, including becoming sexually active at an early age.

    In addition, children who do not live with both parents are more likely to experience psychological and emotional problems ranging from low levels of social competence and self-esteem to anxiety and depression.

    Moreover, the effects of divorce can have a ripple effect in the next generation, given that children tend to follow the marital trajectory of their parents. Children who have experienced parental divorce tend to experience more problematic and less rewarding marriages and are more likely to divorce. In fact, even the divorce of grandparents has been linked to a greater likelihood of third-generation divorce.

    Conversely, the positive effects of marriages that stay intact can extend for generations to come. A combination of policy reforms and public education to promote strong and stable marriages can go far to prevent the ricocheting damage of marital dissolution.


    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Family Fact of the Week: The Far-Reaching Impact of Divorce

    1. C117 says:

      Divorce rate is only 1.6%? I thought it was much higher than that… Why do we always hear the "50% of all marriages end in divorce" stat thrown around?

    2. 475Linebaugh says:

      I've been reading these types of articles for some time now and the question that never seems to be addressed statistically is the effects on children that are raised in homes where the parents are so incompatible that there is a constant undercurrent of unhappiness, resentment, and anger that cannot be hidden from the children. Nor have I seen any studies on how children raised in such an environment fare in comparison to children from a similar home environment after the parents divorce. And as a subset of this latter group, a comparison of children whose parents go through a vicious antagonistic divorce vs. those whose parents settle things amicably and both retain a strong role in parenting. In other words, articles like this seem overly simplistic in their implied or stated conclusions.

      • Person says:

        Agree totally about the generalized nature of this type of thing. We all understand that any negative behaviors can occur with kids regardless of home environment. I do hope that my child of divorce will fare better than average given her mother and I get along well, including with my new wife. My daughter's step-mother is a strong, successful woman. Our visitation arrangement allows my daughter to see each of her parents on a nearly daily basis. Our divorce is the best example of two parents working together but living apart that there really could be.

    3. Ben Runkle says:

      The chart shows an annual divorce rate. Oversimplified calc, but 1.64% per year for a 30-year potential marriage aggregates to a 49.2% failure rate.

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