Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have found that the effect of divorcing parents can have lasting impacts for young children. Those children who witnessed divorce at a relatively young age were found to have less secure relationships with their parents in their adult lives. The goal of the research was to determine which variations in divorce, if any, affected the long-term experiences of other individuals in the family.
The study used 7,735 individuals who responded to a survey about close relationships, parental history of divorce, in their own individual personalities. Of the individuals included in the sample, approximately 1/3 had divorced parents. The average age for these individuals when their parents divorced was nine years old. The majority of participants in the study with divorced parents did not describe the relationship with parents as secure. If the parents divorced while the children are between the ages of three and five, it became even less likely that the children were described themselves as having a secure relationship with their parents.
The effects of having divorced parents stretched beyond interfamilial relationships, too. Children of divorce parents reported higher levels of anxiety within their own romantic relationships, too. This effect, however, was not generalized to the entire study population. One of the factors influencing the effects on the children as they grew up was which parent received primary custody in the divorce proceedings. To explore this avenue further, the researchers developed a new survey tool to explore the link between parental custody and the effects on children in their adult lives.
Divorce can be challenging for many families, even if it’s the right move in the end. Working through a divorce legally can be time-consuming and emotional, and mediation may be a better option for you in certain situations. Regardless of your situation, working with an experienced attorney is important. Contact an attorney today for divorce planning help.