The Consequences of Divorce for Adults and Children: An Update

Paul Richard Amato


The divorce rate has increased in the United States and mostEuropean countries since the 1960s. Public and scientificconcern about the consequences of divorce for adults andchildren has generated a large research literature. Most studiesfind that divorced adults experience more mental and physicalhealth problems than do married adults. Similarly, most studiesfind that children with divorced parents experience more mentaland physical health problems than do children withcontinuously married parents. Available research suggests thatthese associations are partly spurious (due to selection effects)and partly due to the stress associated with marital disruption.People's reactions to divorce are highly variable, with the speedand degree of adjustment depending on a variety of resourcesand post-divorce circumstances. In the United States, severaltypes of court- and community-based programs appear tofacilitate parents' and children's adjustment to divorce.


divorce; health; second demographic transition

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Print ISSN 1330-0288 | Online ISSN 1848-6096