People expect marriages to provide a sense of attachment, bonding, and social security for the married couple. However, sometimes the expectations from the marriages are unfulfilled resulting in divorces. In American society, the rate of divorce is debated, but many believe the rate to fluctuate between 40-50 percent(Parker & Stepler, 2017). The marriage failure has devastating effects on divorcing couple, their children if the couple had children in marriage and society as a whole. Although there is not a single standard way of measuring the rate nor there is a standard method of measuring social, emotional, cognitive and behavioral problems for the person and the children, it impacts the economic, social, physical and emotional well-being of a person as well as the children. Therefore, therapeutic and family integrated interventions are crucial to stabilize and improve the socio-emotional stability of the person because divorce sometimes might cause isolation and antisocial behaviors in children as well as the person with many other psycho-social problems. The paper will define, describe and explain the consequences and outcomes of divorce, society’s response and it will also assess the assessment strategies that are used to evaluate the person’s emotional, cognitive and behavioral states and the interventions available in case of divorce.
Divorce is a separation with the permanent dissolution of the marriage between married couple through legal means. As many people spent years with the same person and invest energy, time and resources to develop the relationship, it becomes stressful when it does not work for a person(Amato, 2014). The reasons for divorce and marriage failure can be different for different couples, but some frequently mentioned reasons of divorce are lack of communication, commitment and compatibility, domestic violence, infidelity, constant arguments, financial issues and addiction. Divorce can cause if there is no equality in the marriage and one person controls the relationship(Fine & Harvey, 2013). Due to a single or combination of some of these reasons many marriages fail. However, it is difficult to predict when the marriage will dissolve because every relationship is different and people handle their relationships differently. Conversely, it is difficult to predict an end of a relationship become some people prefer to stay together than handle the consequences of the divorce.
Although it is stressful to get divorced and manage the aftermath, it sometimes becomes essential to detach oneself from the distressing and unending arguments. The current statistics on divorce in the US show varying divorce rate, but most of the studies agree it falls between 40-50 percent. The reasons for the varying degree of calculation depends on the methods that are used to measure a trend in marriage. Also, some states do not report their statistics on the divorce to include in the statistics of divorce due to which the rate of divorce in America is debated. According to the data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the divorce rate in the US was 3.2 per 1000 population based on the data from 45 states in 2016(“FastStats,” 2017). Therefore, the actual rates of divorce in America are unconfirmed, but the impact it has on the people is evident.
The divorce can have detrimental impacts on the person as well as the children if marriage is dissolved after birthing children. Divorce is a long process not after initiation the case but before that. It is hard to decide to leave when a person has lived, depended and invested years in a relationship. It is difficult for the person to decide to leave the children or take them without enough financial resources(Fabricius & Luecken, 2007; Fine & Harvey, 2013). Divorce displaces a person from the familiar place, and the person is left alone to handle the problems without the emotional, economic and social support that the person has depended. Therefore, it causes economic, social and mental problems for the involved persons. Among the divorcing and divorced couples mental stress, social anxiety, depression, mood swings, trust issues, sleep disruptions, isolation, aggression, and others. Divorced individuals are highly susceptible to heart and other physical diseases due to the high rate of alcohol consumption and risk behavior due to the stress and depression of divorce. Due to which in some cases mortality rates increase among the divorced couples. Although for most of the people psychological distress might be for shorter terms, some people will have a detrimental long-term effect due to divorce(Adams & Coltrane, 2007; Fine & Harvey, 2013; Kramrei, Coit, Martin, Fogo, & Mahoney, 2007). The divorce can have long-term negative impacts if there are children involved and other factors such as duration and initiation. If a person had initiated the divorce that person might not be remorseful compared to a person whose partner has initiated the divorce.
The divorce also has a negative impact on the children because they are exposed to the process of arguments, taunts, and displacement. They are also deprived of affection and warmth of their parents during and before the divorce which deteriorates psychological and emotional states of the children. The children see the separation and in most cases chose a single parent to spend their lives. The psychological, emotional and social problems resulted from divorce lead to long term as well as short-term problems for the children(D’ONOFRIO, 2011; Fagan & Churchill, 2012). The single parent children as a result of divorce face academic, social, emotional and behavioral challenges. Although some of the children might not have long term problems, they will face challenges in after the divorce. The affected people might develop social isolation and difficulties with peers, some of the children also develop delinquent behavior and self-esteem problems following the divorce. The children might fall physically ill and develop a negative self-concept. The children are affected badly if the parents remarried to adjust with the stepfather and siblings. Consequently, it leads them to lack of trust in the institution of marriage and they tend to not marry in their lives(D’ONOFRIO, 2011; Fagan & Churchill, 2012). Hence it changes the whole life of the children. In many cases, the children are more affected than the parents because the parents remarry and become busy with their lives but the children feel detached because of the new family and relationship.
The above mentioned impacts of divorce were studied using various strategies. For examples, to study the impact of divorce on the children researchers have compared two kinds of sample children. One sample of children living with two-parent family and the other sample of children were from families with divorced parents. The quasi-experimental design is used to study the impact of a variable on the children with a control group. It is also studied through comparing the adults who had divorced and people without divorce. Also, reports from clinical consultation, surveys and interviews are also conducted to prove to assess the impact of divorce on adults and the children. Background assessment of the delinquent, or socially anxious and reports from schools were also assessed to see the impacts of the divorce on children. Hence, researchers have used various methods to show the negative impacts of the divorce on the well-being of the people(Adams & Coltrane, 2007; Amato, 2014; Fagan & Churchill, 2012).
Due to the intense research on the effect of the divorce many intervention strategies were considered to reduce the harmful impacts on the children and adults. The introduced interventions are for pre and post-divorce including educational interventions to raise awareness and teach coping strategies after divorce or to learn to communicate(Adams & Coltrane, 2007; Fine & Harvey, 2013). There are also therapeutic interventions for children and adults after the divorce to stabilize and accept the trauma of separation. Some preventive interventions attempt to prevent the divorce from happening, but even after a divorce, many services are available to assist the people to cope with the separation. The interventions whether they are social support groups for children and parent or counseling for the affected people are helpful in most of the cases. Therefore, the interventions aimed at providing support for the adults and children who are a struggle with the separation to return to the normal lives and they are crucial for stabilizing as well as normalizing the people with bad experiences in marriage. They help the people with coping methods, stress management and acceptance of the change and adjusting their lives to the change with a positive attitude(Fine & Harvey, 2013).
Although divorce has a negative impact on the society, it is prevalent in the American society. And the American people and the laws make it easier for the people to obtain a divorce when both the parties agree or when one party files the case for legitimate reasons. Therefore, divorce is not considered a taboo in American society. However, the trends of getting married are changing. Instead many people live with their partners without marriage(Adams & Coltrane, 2007). Although the mentioned reasons not marrying vary among the research participants from financial instability to lack of preparedness, many of the people said they do not want to marry. For instance, 32 percent of adults age 50 or older said that they do not want to marry compared to 11 percent of young four-year college graduates (Parker & Stepler, 2017). Also, 45 percent of the previously married people said that do not want to remarry.
Moreover, organizations such as Children’s institute or institute of child psychology are playing an essential role in educating parents, teachers, and societies to help the children of divorced parents. These organizations along with others help children by providing emotional support so that children can thrive. Similarly, Austin Institute and other organizations support research to develop new knowledge about the family related issues and trends(“Austin institute | RESEARCH,” 2018). Furthermore, a psychiatrist is available to assist the divorced people to return to their normal lives and cope with depression and other divorce-related problems. The organizations train teachers to provide necessary emotional and adequate academic support to the children with difficulties(“Institute of Child Psychology,” 2018)s. The people in general or family members are encouraged to listen to the problems and provide support to such children and adults with emotional needs. The people can support the divorced person by keeping privacy and respecting it without judging the person. Listening to the victims and being with them helps the divorced person because they might be sad and want to talk about it. Hence it is important for the family and community to support them without judging(Fine & Harvey, 2013).
To conclude, divorce can change a person’s life affecting the person and the children negatively. Hence, it is important that they have right kind of support from the society and family. The people who are getting a divorce are losing their financial, emotional and social support at least for the time being due to which it is crucial for the society to help them. As it can have socio-economic, psychological and physical problems such as heart-related disease for the couple, it is essentials for the whole community to intervene to provide support and teach them to learn coping methods. Also, the children must be focused on such interventions because they are the ones who suffer because of their parents’ incompatibility. Thus, people must intervene and support the divorced families and their children.
Adams, M., & Coltrane, S. (2007). Framing divorce reform: Media, morality, and the politics of family. Family Process, 46(1), 17–34.
Amato, P. R. (2014). The consequences of divorce for adults and children: An update. Društvena Istraživanja: Časopis Za Opća Društvena Pitanja, 23(1), 5–24.
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D’ONOFRIO, B. M. (2011). Consequences of separation/divorce for children. Divorce and Separation, 7.
Fabricius, W. V., & Luecken, L. J. (2007). Postdivorce living arrangements, parent conflict, and long-term physical health correlates for children of divorce. Journal of Family Psychology, 21(2), 195.
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FastStats. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/marriage-divorce.htm
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Parker, K., & Stepler, R. (2017, September 14). As U.S. marriage rate hovers at 50%, education gap in marital status widens. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/09/14/as-u-s-marriage-rate-hovers-at-50-education-gap-in-marital-status-widens/