General trends found in situations resulting from divorce.
- PARENTAL LOSS– divorce often results in the loss of a parent for the children and with this loss children also lose the knowledge, skills and resources (emotional, financial, etc.) of that parent.
- ECONOMIC LOSS– another result of divorce is that children living in single parent families are less likely to have as many economic resources as children living in intact families.
- MORE LIFE STRESS– divorce often results in many changes in children’s living situations such as changing schools, child care, homes, etc. Children often also have to make adjustments to changes in relationships with friends and extended family members. These changes create a more stressful environment for children.
- POOR PARENTAL ADJUSTMENT– generally how children fare in families is due in part to the mental health of the parents, this is likely to be true for children in divorced families as well.
- LACK OF PARENTAL COMPETENCE– much of what happens to children in general is related to the skill of parents in helping them develop. The competence of parents following divorce is likely to have considerable influence on how the children are doing.
- EXPOSURE TO INTER-PARENTAL CONFLICT– conflict is frequently part of families and may be especially common in families that have undergone divorce. The degree to which children are exposed to conflict may have substantial effects on children’s well-being.
Research has revealed the following outcomes for children of divorced parents: Children whose parents have divorced are increasingly the victims of abuse. They exhibit more health, behavioral, and emotional problems, are involved more frequently in crime and drug abuse, and have higher rates of suicide.
Children of divorced parents perform more poorly in reading, spelling, and math. They also are more likely to repeat a grade and to have higher drop-out rates and lower rates of college graduation. · Families with children that were not poor before the divorce see their income drop as much as 50 percent. Almost 50 percent of the parents with children that are going through a divorce move into poverty after the divorce.
Religious worship, which has been linked to better health, longer marriages, and better family life, drops after the parent’s divorce. The following the statistics can’t be taken as cause and effect but should be considered before making such a life altering choice as divorce.
- Alcoholism is much more likely to be a problem among those who have been divorced than those who have not. Those divorced only once have almost twice the rate of alcoholism as those who have never been divorced. Folks divorced more than once are almost three times as likely to have drinking problems.
- The suicide rate is almost three times higher among the divorced than among life-long spouses.
- The National Institute of Mental Health advises that the divorced are about four times as likely to have problems with depression as are the never-divorced.
- Studies have shown that the prevalence of suffering from any psychiatric disorder over a lifetime was significantly lower for those in stable marriages.
- Statistical data have revealed that children of divorced parents are much more likely to drop out of school than children from one-time-married couples.
- Children from broken homes are much more likely to have a difficult time obtaining and maintaining steady employment.
- The children of divorced parents are more likely to become “teen parents,” producing out-of-wedlock babies, than the children of life-long married parents.
- The offspring of divorced parents are twenty to thirty percent more likely to have health problems, or to be injury-prone than youngsters whose original parents are still together.
- The children of divorced parents are three times more likely to have emotional or behavioral problems than they will have if their biological parents stay together. With more than 30 years of research, we now know divorce seldom leads to a better life.
Consider that: Life expectancy for divorced men and women are significantly lower than for married people (who have the longest life expectancy). A recent study found those who were unhappy but stay married were more likely to be happy five years later than those who divorced.
The health consequences of divorce are so severe that a Yale researcher concluded that “being divorced and a nonsmoker is [only] slightly less dangerous than smoking a pack a day and staying married.”
After a diagnosis of cancer, married people are most likely to recover, while the divorced are least likely to recover, indicating that the emotional trauma of divorce has a long-term impact on the physical health of the body.
Men and women both suffer a decline in mental health following divorce, but researchers have found that women are more greatly affected. Some of the mental health indicators affected by divorce include depression, hostility, self-acceptance, personal growth and positive relations with others.
A cautionary note, abuse should be condoned or tolerated.
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