In today\'s society, one of the toughest things many parents and children have to face or deal with is divorce. It is usually extremely tough on the parents getting the divorce however many times the children simply get lost in all the mess and are left to cope as best as they can. Eventhough people get divorced for many different reasons; often times the children tend to try and shoulder some of the blame. In this paper I plan to look at a few of the effects divorce has on the parents getting the divorce, plus look at some of the affects it has on the children caught in the middle.
In today\'s society it is rarely even a shock that people are divorced. It has become as common place as the marriage itself. Between 50% and 67% of all first time marriages end in divorce (Gottman, 1998). This same report done on divorce rates (Gottman, 1998) also found that for second marriages, the rate is about 10% higher than for the first. The rate of divorce has leveled off some within the past six years, but a large number of families continue to experience it each year (Shaw, Emery, & Tuer, 1993). In fact, approximately 2% of children living in the United States are faced with parental divorce each year (Emery & Forehand, 1994), and, in one sample of children, it was observed that 25% of the children experienced a parental breakup by age 14 (Baydar, 1988). In most all of the newspapers you can look in there and see a list of all the people getting married. In contrast, you can look across the page and see a list just about as long of people getting divorced.
Effects on Parents
There have been numerous research studies done on the effects divorce has on the parents. One such report found that many of the spouses of divorce have mental and physical health problems, as well as, increased risk of psychopath-ology, increased wrecks with fatalities, increased physical illness, suicide, violence and homicides (Gottman, 1998). In another related study done on adults, it was found that adults, who had gone through a divorce, usually reported less satisfaction with family and friends and an increase in anxiety. They often felt that bad things more frequently happen to them, and that they found it more difficult to cope with life\'s stresses in general (Friedman, 1995). Friedman (1995) also published a recent report based on the Terman longitudinal study of gifted children. The report stated that survival curves showed that the combination of one\'s parents having divorced and one\'s own divorce reduced longevity by an average of approximately eight years (Friedman, 1995).
In looking at problems for parents associated with divorce, researchers have also begun to look at different avenues that they feel are important in getting good research. For example, they have begun to study loneliness caused by divorce and the effects it has on the parents and even the children. One study in particular suggests that 25% of the U.S. reported feeling intensely lonely in the two-week period following divorce (Rokach, 1997). They say that the effects of loneliness are evident in its identification as a frequent presenting complaint to telephone hotlines, college psychological clinics, and youth and marriage counseling services (Jones, Rose, & Russell, 1990). Researchers have also begun to study the social importance of loneliness due to the large number of effects it has on emotional, physical, and behavioral problems (Jones et al., 1990). Jones (1990) also found loneliness to be inversely related to measures of self-esteem and has also been found to be largely associated with depression, anxiety, and interpersonal hostility and with substance abuse, suicide, and vulnerability to health problems.
Effects on Children
In much of the research being done today, it has been found that divorce has a relatively small, but significant impact on multiple areas of child functioning (Forehand, Armistead, & David, 1997). However, one study discovered that a major risk factor in a child\'s psychosocial adjustment is parental divorce (Forehand, 1998). Another particularly good study conducted a meta-analysis of 92 different studies comparing children from divorced families to children from families that were still together. It was found that there were short-term negative effects of divorce in the