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Political Issues This forum is for discussing the political aspects of divorce: reform to divorce laws, men's rights, women's rights, injustices in the divorce system, etc.

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Old 06-20-2006, 05:38 PM
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Default The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 Year Landmark Study

If anyone has read recent research books on divorce, I am interested in hearing your views. I've read Wallerstein myself, but not Hetherington...

Judith Wallerstein began studying 131 children of various ages as they experienced the divorce of their parents in the early 1970s and followed them over 25 years. Her conclusion, set forth in The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 Year Landmark Study, was that divorce was a deeply painful experience for children. They endured more depression, greater learning difficulties, more aggression toward parents and teachers and were two to three times more likely to be referred for psychological help at school than their peers from intact families. And to her surprise, Wallerstein found divorce took its greatest toll years later, in early adulthood.

Then there's the somewhat opposing view offered by E. Mavis Hetherington’s book "For Better or For Worse: Divorce Reconsidered" which says that the negative impact of divorce on both children and parents has been exaggerated and that only about one-fifth of youngsters experience any long-term damage after their parents break up. One of the most comprehensive studies of divorce to date, the research will bring balm to the souls of parents who have chosen to end their marriages. After studying almost 1,400 families and more than 2,500 children. — some of them for three decades — her figures show that about 75% to 80% of children from divorced homes are "coping reasonably well and functioning in the normal range." Eventually they are able to adapt to their new lives. And about 70% of their parents are leading lives that range from "good enough" — the divorce was "like a speed bump in the road" — to "enhanced," living lives better than those they had before the divorce.

Don't expect anyone here to have a definitive answer, just interested in your views on the issue...
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Old 06-20-2006, 07:01 PM
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mom22galz,

I have a tendency to learn towards Judith Wallerstein views.

lv
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Old 06-30-2006, 10:04 AM
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I have a tendancy to look at all studies with some degree of skepticism. The politics of divorce is a hot-button issue and for every study saying that divorce is bad, another one says that divorce isn't so bad. It's very likely that somewhere between the two extremes is the truth for the majority of children of divorce.

We also live in a culture where there is a new study or new set of statistics on a wide variety of issues every single day. I think that when people are inundated with stats, their eyes tend to glaze over - the same way that a judge's eyes might glaze over in motions court after hearing his/her fifteenth motion of the day on the same family law related issues.

As a mediator, I don't personally believe that it divorce can be blamed as the root of problems for children. It's the parents who ultimately must be regarded as being the source of the issues impacting children. A study that might grab my attention would be one that deals specifically with how parental conflict negatively impacts children.
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