Shared Parenting Information Group (SPIG) UK
- promoting responsible shared parenting after separation and divorce -
Experiences of children after divorce
A major Joseph Rowntree study reviews the experiences of children whose parents divorce (published 24th June 1989).
The comprehensive review of about 200 research reports from overseas and UK, but concentrating on the latter was carried out by:
- Bryan Rodgers of The Australian National University, Canberra
- Jan Pryor of the University of Auckland, New Zealand
The main findings
Children of separated families have a higher probability of:
- being in poverty and poor housing;
- being poorer when they are adults;
- behavioural problems;
- performing less well in school;
- needing medical treatment;
- leaving school/home when young;
- becoming sexually active, pregnant, or a parent at an early age;
- depressive symptoms, high levels of smoking and drinking, and drug use during adolescence and adulthood.
Factors affecting the outcomes
- financial hardship can limit educational achievement;
- family conflict before, during and after separation can contribute to behavioural problems;
- parental ability to recover from distress of separation affects children's ability to adjust
- multiple changes in family structure increase the probability of poor outcomes;
- quality contact with the non-resident parent can improve outcomes.
- Support for parents to deal with the distress of separation is needed to enable them better to help the children. GPs, teachers and family lawyers need to be equipped to help as they are often approached for this support.
- Information needs to be provided for parents that says separation does not necessarily lead to adverse affects, but that factors such as conflict can be detrimental for their children.
- Support services should facilitate the continuing involvement of non-custodial parents in their children's lives (except where protection from abuse/violence is necessary).
- Support at times of forming step-families may be as important as support following separation.
Details on the Joseph Rowntree Foundation website
Last updated - 27 June 1998
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