A new study on divorce, looking at the complete spectrum of research on the subject, confirms what most people already know – even if they are not willing to admit it: divorce causes “irreparable harm” to the whole family, but particularly to the children.
There have been plenty of individual studies exposing one or more effects of divorce, but rarely do researchers give an overview of the findings to date – and it makes disturbing reading.
Divorce puts some children on a “downward trajectory from which they might never fully recover”, says the study, The Effects of Divorce on Children, by Patrick F. Fagan and Aaron Churchill from US-based MARRI (the Marriage and Religion Research Institute of the Family Research Council). “It diminishes children’s future competence in all five of society’s major tasks or institutions: family, school, religion, marketplace and government.”
The study says that the reversal of the cultural and social status of divorce has been nothing less than a cultural revolution. Only a few generations ago, divorce was considered “scandalous”, it says, but now law, behaviour, and culture “embrace and even celebrate it”.
The study describes some negative affects of divorce: “It frequently leads to destructive conflict management methods, diminished social competence and for children, the early loss of virginity, as well as diminished sense of masculinity or femininity for young adults. It also results in more trouble with dating, more cohabitation, greater likelihood of divorce and higher expectations of divorce later in life.”