In her study entitled, The unexpected legacy of divorce: A 25 year landmark study, Wallerstein followed children over a years period commencing in when California liberalized its divorce legislation.
Want to learn more about this and related topics? Sign up for our twice-monthly email newsletter. My name is Gordon Berlin. I am the executive vice president of MDRC, a unique nonpartisan social policy research and demonstration organization dedicated to learning what works to improve the well-being of disadvantaged families.
We strive to achieve this mission by conducting real world field tests of new policy and program ideas using the most rigorous methods possible to assess their effectiveness.
I am honored to be invited to address your committee about what we know and do not know about the effects of marriage and divorce on families and children and about what policies and programs might work to promote and strengthen healthy marriages, especially among the poor.
My goal is to briefly summarize the evidence in three areas: The central focus of my remarks will be to explicate the role that marital education, family counseling, and related services might play in promoting The influence of divorce on children and long term consequences strengthening healthy marriages and to discuss what we know about the potential of strategies that seek to ameliorate the key stressors for example, job loss, lack of income, domestic violence, and childbearing that make it difficult to form marriages in the first place or act as a catalyst that eventually breaks up existing marriages.
To summarize my conclusions: First, children who grow up in an intact, two-parent family with both biological parents present do better on a wide range of outcomes than children who grow up in a single-parent family. Single parenthood is not the only, nor even the most important, cause of the higher rates of school dropout, teenage pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, or other negative outcomes we see; but it does contribute independently to these problems.
Neither does single parenthood guarantee that children will not succeed; many, if not most, children who grow up in a single-parent household do succeed.
Third, we do not know whether these same marital education services would be effective in reducing marital stress and eventual divorce among low-income populations or in promoting marriage among the unmarried. Low-income populations confront a wide range of stressors that middle-class families do not.
The evidence is limited, and mixed, on whether strategies designed to overcome these stressors, for example, by providing job search assistance or by supplementing low earnings, rather than relying solely on teaching marital communication and problem-solving skills would also increase the likelihood that low-income couples would marry or that married couples would stay together.
Fourth, to find out whether and what types of policies and programs might successfully strengthen marriage as an institution among low-income populations as well as among a wide variety of ethnically and culturally diverse populations, our national focus should be on the design, implementation, and rigorous evaluation of these initiatives.
The rationale is reasonably straightforward: About a third of all children born in the United States each year are born out of wedlock. Similarly, about half of all first marriages end in divorce, and when children are involved, many of the resulting single-parent households are poor.
For example, less than 10 percent of married couples with children are poor as compared with about 35 to 40 percent of single-mother families.
Moreover, research shows that even after one controls for a range of family background differences, children who grow up living in an intact household with both biological parents present seem to do better, on average, on a wide range of social indicators than do children who grow up in a single-parent household McLanahan and Sandefur, For example, they are less likely to drop out of school, become a teen parent, be arrested, and be unemployed.
Put another way, equalizing income and opportunity do improve the life outcomes of children growing up in single-parent households, but children raised in two-parent families still have an advantage.
If the failure of parents to marry and persistently high rates of divorce are behind the high percentage of children who grow up in a single-parent family, can and should policy attempt to reverse these trends?
There are many factors that determine the long-term effects of parental divorce on children. The quality of the relationships among family members has a significant impact on whether or not these long-term effects of divorce are damaging. The consequences of a divorce for children are mostly that they have to move to a different home and sometimes to a different school and that they will not see and be with both their parents at the same time any more. Mrs. Wallerstein has deeply investigated the long term effects of divorce on children during many years. She has followed. The good news is that although divorce is hard and often extremely painful for children, long-term harm is not inevitable. the title "Is Divorce Bad .
Since Daniel Patrick Moynihan first lamented what he identified as the decline of the black family in his report, The Negro Family: The Case for National Action, marriage has been a controversial subject for social policy and scholarship.
The initial reaction to Moynihan was harsh; scholars argued vehemently that family structure and, thus, father absence was not a determinant of child well-being.
But then in the s, psychologists Wallerstein and Kelly, ; Hetherington, began producing evidence that divorce among middle-class families was harmful to children.
Renewed interest among sociologists and demographers Furstenberg and Cherlin, in the link between poverty and single parenthood soon emerged, and as noted above, that work increasingly began building toward the conclusion that family structure did matter McLanahan and Sandefur, Of course, the debate was not just about family structure and income differences; it was also about race and gender.
When Moynihan wrote in24 percent of all births among African-Americans occurred outside of marriage. Today, the black out-of-wedlock birthrate is almost 70 percent, and the white rate has reached nearly 24 percent.
If single parenthood is a problem, that problem cuts across race and ethnicity. But the story has nuance.
In fact, there is some evidence that second marriages can actually be harmful to adolescents. Moreover, marriage can help children only if the marriage is a healthy one. Marital hostility is associated with increased aggression and disruptive behaviors on the part of children which, in turn, seem to lead to peer rejection, academic failure, and other antisocial behaviors Cummings and Davies, ; Webster-Stratton, Long Term Effects of Divorce.
1. Enduring Consequences. Even 30 years after the divorce, negative long-term repercussions still clearly affected the income, health, This study demonstrates that parental divorce has consequences for children and subsequent generations.
Amato and Cheadle also reported in this study that “[p]arental. Nearly all of the romantically involved couples expressed interest in developing long-term stable relationships, and there was universal interest in marriage, with most indicating that there was at least a fifty-fifty chance that they would marry in the future.
Short-term legacy is the term used to define the consequences that affect the child at the time the divorce occurs and immediately following. Long-term legacy represents those consequences that impact the child of divorce later on in their teen or adult years.
The good news is that although divorce is hard and often extremely painful for children, long-term harm is not inevitable. the title "Is Divorce Bad .
The good news is that although divorce is hard and often extremely painful for children, long-term harm is not inevitable. Most children bounce back and get through this difficult situation with.
However, in most cases it can have positive impact as Richard explains in the article “the positive effects of divorce on children” that divorce provides a healthy environment for those children that were subjected to violence, unhappy family, and hostility among others.