The Consequences of Divorce on Adults and Children
The Consequences of Divorce on Adults and Children
Summary of the Article
It is reported that 3.4 per 1000 population divorce out of the 6.8 per 1000 population who marry. With this kind of an alarming divorce rate in the United States, there are obvious divorce repercussions experienced by those going through the divorce process or the people related to the divorcees. Paul R. Amato has written an article focusing on the consequences of divorces on the adults and the children in the family getting a divorce. Through organizing and summarizing the empirical literature pertaining to this topic, the author attempts to answer five questions: “How do individuals from married and divorced families differ in well-being? Are these differences due to divorce or to selection? Are these differences a temporary crisis to which most people gradually adapt or are they stable strains and persist more or less indefinitely? What factors mediate the effects of divorce on individual adjustment? What are the moderators (protective factors) that account for the individual variability in adjustment to divorce?” (Amato, 2000).
The author has researched on a number of indicators pertaining to the well-being of both adults and the children. Looking at the divorce-stress-adjustment perspective and the selection perspective, the authors sort to find out the impact of divorce on both parties. In order to come up with a more objective conclusion, the author has analyzed the studies on the consequences of divorce on adults through comparing divorced and married individuals in the 1990s, analyzed whether it had more impact through causation or selection and whether divorce is worse as a crisis or a chronic strain. He has also analyzed the mediators arising from divorce effects, moderating factors and demographic variables. He has gone through the same process in identifying the consequences of divorce on the children.
Through his studies, the author finds out “the increase in marital instability has not brought society to the brink of chaos, but neither has it led to a golden age of freedom and self-actualization” (Amato, 2000). This is in response to an ongoing debate, of which one side argues that divorce is a major influence on many societal problems. On the other hand, the other side sees divorce as a provision of happiness for many adults in problematic relationships as well as a rescuer for many children in aversive homes and dysfunctional families.
Author’s Main Points
In the study, Amato made a couple of points clear. First, both adults and children originating from divorced families make lower scores as compared to their counterparts in families with married couples on a number of well-being indicators. This is because of the process and the events brought up by the divorce process, before and after the divorce events. Similarly, Kalmijin and Monden (2006) analyzed whether the negative effects of divorce on well-being are dependent on the marital quality. They found out that the negative effects of divorce were less on a family based on a poor marriage as compared to a family that was based on a good marriage.
It is true that selection is responsible for the differences encountered. However, divorce has been found to have a major impact on the well-being net of selection (Amato, 2000). The selection perspective depicts that poorly adjusted people become selected out of marriages. This accounts to both adults and children. In other words, there are particular individuals, who possess social and personal characteristics, which are problematic, thus these predispose them to divorce and make it harder for them to cope even after the divorce process has ended.
Thirdly, there are a number of mechanisms, which enable divorce to affect particular individuals. Some of these mediators were found to be the relationships between the parents and the child or the children. The continuity of a discord between ex-spouses was also found to be a contributing mediator. The lack or the insufficient emotional support is another contributing mediator. Economic hardships, moving (from one environment to another), amongst other increasing number of negative events, all serve as contributory mediators.
The author has shown that both children and adults respond to the divorce in different ways as far as adjusting is concerned. Some children and adults cope relatively faster to divorce. This is categorized as supporting the crisis model. On the other hand, other children and adults portray long-term deficits in coping. This is categorized as a chronic strain model.
There are a couple of factors, which control the extent and rate of adjusting. Being the spouse who first wanted the divorce, having a supportive new partner, employment and education are some of the resources contributing to the protective factors for adults. Accessing therapeutic interventions, support from friends and family members and coping skills, act as protective factors for the children. For both adults and children, “the end of a highly conflicted marriage is likely to be followed by improvements, rather than declines, in well-being” (Amato, 2000).
The author has tried to make the article to be as direct as possible. One of the advantages of this characteristic is the article can be read and be understood by the majority of the people, whether in high school, college or higher levels or learning. This makes it useful for the people interested in this field of the impact of marriage and divorce. The words used are not ambiguous or complex. This makes it relatively easy for anyone reading the article to comprehend the information without prior knowledge of terms used in the research field.
The advantage of using literature review as a research strategy is that one is able to compare the results found in other researches done in the previous periods and thus come up with a viable research without necessarily doing ones statistical research. This saves on time and other resources, which mostly include finances. The author’s research is based on other researches, which have been done previously by other people who have an interest in the same field. Through the study of accumulated studies carried out in the 1900s, the author is able to come up with a stronger conclusion as compared to making a conclusion done on one statistical research.
As evident in the article, Amato (2000) has tried to cover a wide range studies done in the late 20th century. Although most of the studies were carried out between 1990 and 1999, the proof in all the studies he has done give the author a basis to make a strong conclusion. It also shows a recurring trend and not just a “one-time” research that is depicted by other researchers. It is also significant to understand that one can do a research basing his/her argument on the previous research done by other parties. Ones research must not necessarily include participants as most researches depict.
As far as the organization and the arrangement of his work is concerned, the author has tried to organize the study in subtitles so that the work becomes easier to follow and comprehend. The topic has been researched under various subtopics so that the research becomes more extensive and accumulative. In this way, the author analyses the impact of divorce on adults and children through many sub-topics thus concluding in an area that has very debatable.
One major problem arising from making a research through a research that has been made by other parties is that it lacks originality. The author has simply gathered information from past studies and then come up with a conclusion. In other words, the author may seem as though they are summarizing other people’s information. Although researching other people’s studies may not be as easy as it sounds, gathering other people’s information and putting them under one article may look like a ‘short-cut’ as compared to other researchers who go ahead and collect information with the inclusion of participants.
The author has tried to analyze the topic as extensively as he can. However, it would have been best if he concentrated on this area so that the topic does not become too vast. The divorce topic is quite vast in itself as so being too vast when analyzing it may not bring allow the author to make a strong conclusion as required. The author has touched on the topic of mediation, which is another topic on its own as far as divorce is concerned. It is also significant to identify that times have changes and so have the people. People are more willing to get out of abusive and dysfunctional relationships now that they were a couple of decades ago.
The author is recommended to make his own research (using his own participants) in order to come up with a conclusion that is more recent and evident. By using other people’s researches, he has incorporated their mistakes and their assumptions. It also may also be portrayed as a summary of many researches carried out in the past.
It is also more influential when one limits a topic instead of becoming too extensive. When one limits a topic, the author is able to be more critical on the chosen topic and be more conclusive on it. The author has tried to be more inclusive on such topics as mediators/mediation, which is another topic on its own.
It is also significant for the author to mention the weaknesses in the researches he is analyzing. This enables one to be clear of the assumptions made by the researchers and the facts gotten from the study.
Amato, P. R. (2000). The Consequences of Divorce for Adults and Children. Journal of Marriage & Family. Vol 62 (4):1269-1287.
Kalmijin, M. & Monden, C. W. S. (2006). Are the Negative Effects of Divorce on Well-Being Dependent on Marital Quality? Journal of Marriage & Family Vol. 68(5): 1197-1213.
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