Impact of Divorce on Different Parties
The dissolution of a marriage can have significantly devastating effect for those who have to undergo such a life changing experience. The disputes and the risks that divorce will pose to all members of the family unit develop threats to the future welfare of the individual. This will mandate the mobilization of adjustment skills combined with the correct amalgam of “ameliorative circumstances” to permit the individual to have a period of recovery and reestablishment of the life of the parties involved (Portnoy, 2006, p. 1). In this light, divorce not only affects the children, who are traditionally seen as the most affected party in the divorce, but also the effect of marital dissolution on the welfare of the parents as well.
One of the primary concerns of the rise in divorce has been the welfare of the children as well as the adults involved in the dissolution. These queries have given rise to significant interest among psychological and social clinicians; the diversity in the number of analyses has regrettably generated more conflicting rather than harmonizing studies and conclusions. These studies have been unified, nevertheless, in showing the fact the children and the parents have fared worse if various indicators- socioeconomic, physical as well as psychological- of well being are factored in compared to those who did not undergo divorce (Harknonen, 2013, p. 16).
In the study of Amato and Sobolewski (2001, p. 600), persons who have parents who divorced have a higher risk of experiencing psychological issues when these reach adulthood. Though this trajectory has been well researched in many research activities, how to define the indicators or predictors of this end has been elusive. There are a number of studies that allude to low educational attainment or deficient socialization skills as contributors and bridges to the development of psychological issues in adulthood and parental divorce.
Over the past few years, there have been higher quality research activities that have displayed the “meta analysis” of previously accomplished research work. These research activities have attested to the adverse impact of divorce have not only been inaccurate, but also highly distorted.
Past research has shown that children coming from dissolved marriages, or “children of divorce”, experienced bouts of depression, fared poorly in school, and were often in conflict with the law. Often times, children experiencing depression episodes display these problems not after the divorce; these children show these tendencies even before the divorce of the parents, as the conflict between the parents that tended to generate the episodes in the child existed even before the couple divorced (O’Connell, Corcoran, 1997). However, adults that have come from divorced family settings also show adverse effects from the event.
As stated earlier, adults coming from a divorced parent’s scenario are less mentally stable and have degraded health compared to those from non divorced family settings. After some years, it was seen that the fathers have diminished opportunities to contact their children. For a number of divorces, there are those that try to overcome their pain by entering into new romantic relationships; however, many of these individuals do not completely cut ties with their former spouses, at times relying on their former partners for support, as well as advice on practical matters. Often, divorced individuals tend to be isolationist; these tend to be less involved than individuals who come from “whole” family units. Being involved in a social context proves to be a difficult task as the daily tasks that were usually done with their former spouses now have to be accomplished alone.
It was also noted that not only the amount of time that is spent with the children that tend to suffer following the dissolution of marriage; it was also noted that the quality of the time spent between the father and the child suffers as well. The number of single fathers raising their children has risen to three times the number from the preceding generation. However, having the father raise the children creates new issues such as social isolation of the children as the fathers have to face the challenges of providing for their families alone.
This is however not isolated for fathers; mothers also have to struggle to work and then have time to have any semblance of a social life. Though both parents profess unwavering love towards their children, the children provide unnecessary emotional pressures on the former couple. Single parents often are faced with the challenges of having to adequately provide for their children and still have time to socialize with their friends. The balancing act of trying to be a good parent and the need to socialize can inflict negative emotional strains on the parents (Utah State University, n.d., pp. 97-98).
However, though divorce is traditionally seen as a factor in the development of depression among adults, the cause of this development can be challenged on the matter of “directionality” as well as issues of third variables. In the test conducted by Sbarra, Emery, Beam, and Ocker (2013), the research studies displayed the results that one, the rise in the rate of adult depression that the test adults were already depressed by the time of the follow on assessment, and two, the adults had undergone the experience of divorce. The subjects who did not show any signs of depression at the initial test, but had experienced a divorce before the follow-on test, did not show any increased risk for the development of significant depression episodes in the future. In this light, there are recommendations that can be done to help in mitigating the effects of divorce on all parties in the issue.
In order to prevent the onset of the adverse effects and consequences of divorce on the members of a family unit, O’Connell Corcoran (1997) recommends that the child/ren should be continually involved in the lives of the parents to develop a more equal and realistic relationship in the future. The children will learn to adapt to the new environment when these adapt to the new dynamics of the parents. Here, if the child is secured of his/her place in the new dynamic, these will tend to adapt well to the time sharing periods that will be developed for them. One of the most critical factors is the attitude of the mother to the situation and to the father and his position in the new scenario. Only when the parent vacates or abandons this position is the time that conflicts and depression is reported.
In summary, research will always point to one factor or another as to why parents seek and ultimately attain a divorce. The issues will range from “irreconcilable differences” to “a loss of love”; however, the main point in getting a divorce is an unwillingness or laziness in trying to resolve the differences of the parties. Avoiding listening or compromising, being obstinate to change, and a number of other factors can aid in the process. But the main point is an unwillingness to change to adapt to find a way to resolve differences for the better of the marriage. No law or science study can formulate or conjure willingness; it is only when people want to sit and listen can this “formula” be developed.
Amato, P.R., Sobolewski, J.M. (2001). The effects of divorce and marital discord on adult children’s psychological well-being. American Sociological Review Volume 66 pp. 900-921
Harknonen, J. (2003). “Divorce: trends, patterns, causes and consequences”. Retrieved 17 may 2014 from <http://www.su.se/polopoly_fs/1.133184.1366922030!/menu/standard/file/WP_2013_3.pdf>
O’Connell Corcoran, K. (1997). “Psychological and emotional aspects of divorce”. Retrieved 17 May 2014 from < http://www.mediate.com/articles/psych.cfm#effects>
Portnoy, S., Dr. (n.d.). “The psychology of divorce: a lawyer’s primer part 1-the effects of divorce on adults”. Retrieved 17 May 2014 from <http://www.portnoyassociates.com/resources/articles/psychology1.html>
Sbarra, D.A., Emery, R.E., Beam, C. R., Ocker, B. L. (2013). Marital dissolution and major depression in midlife. Clinical Psychological Science Volume 2 number 3 pp. 249-257
Utah State University (n.d). “What are the possible consequences of divorce for adults?” Retrieved 17 May 2014 from < http://www.divorce.usu.edu/files/uploads/Lesson6.pdf>