The Effects of Divorce on Young Children

Divorce is a traumatic, emotional event in the life of a child.  Recent research by a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois shows the security of a child’s relationship with his parents can be affected if the parents divorce when the child is young.

Professor R. Chris Fraley conducted research on the effects of divorce on young children by analyzing data from an online personality and close relationship survey taken by  more than 7,000 men and women.  More than one-third of those taking the survey had parents who divorced.  The average age of the participants when their parent’s divorced was nine years old.

According to Fraley’s research, those men and women whose parents divorced when they were under five-years-old, were more insecure in their current relationship with their parents than those participants whose parents divorced when they were older.

The study, which was published online in the journal “Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,” found  the feelings of insecurity were greater for the adult children’s relationships with their fathers.  The researchers suggest the reasons for this may be because of those surveyed, 74 percent lived with their mothers after the divorce, while only 11 percent lived with their fathers.  Professor Fraley found that those surveyed were more apt to have insecure adult relationships with the parent they did not live with. 

Fraley suggests that “something as basic as the amount of time that one spends with a parent or one’s living arrangements can have the potential to shape the quality of the attachment relationship that one has with a parent.”

Omni Gillath, a professor of psychology at the University of Kansas, stated the study shows how divorce has long-term effects on the life of a child, and suggests parents be as civilized as possible when divorcing.

Another researcher who was not involved in the study, Jennifer Vendemia from the University of South Carolina, stressed that “fathers need to make an effort to stay involved in a child’s life.”

When going through a divorce, an experienced Orlando divorce lawyer can help a divorcing couple resolve their differences amicably and assist in preserving their relationships with their children.

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