Marriage is the traditional view of legally binding two individuals together ’til death. While marriage may work for others, some come to terms of separating due to a numerous of reasons. Divorce is the legal action of terminating a marriage between two married individuals. This can be a stressful factor for the entire family especially for the children involved. Between the emotional and psychological implications of divorce, children take this problem into adulthood.
In a study done by Hurre, Junkkari, and Aro (2006), it was found that the divorce of parents could sufficiently cause enough stress in their childhood to influence their adulthood, especially among females. This 16-year longitudinal study first analyzed 9th- grade students from a school in Tampere from 1983 and was studied again in 1999. In the first phase of the study, a total of 2194 pupils (1071 females and 1123 males) received a questionnaire at the age of 16 with a response rate of 96.7%. The first phase questionnaire included questions regarding personal characteristics, family background, social relationships, life events, psychological and somatic health, and health behavior. A second questionnaire was sent through mail 16 years later to a total of 1471 (805 females and 666 males) of the participants with a response rate of 70.8%. The second questionnaire included similar age-related questions and included scales on psychological well-being. Within the 16 years of the study, 103 of the participants were dead, institutionalized, unidentifiable or unobtainable to receive the second phase of the study. The remaining 620 participants did not respond to the follow-up questionnaire.
In the questionnaires, participants were to answer age-related questions in which would help scale the well-being of each participant. The family background at age 16 was obtained through questions related to parental divorce, death and socio-economic status in forms of structured questions. The second phase of the study used a Psychosomatic Symptom scoring; participants were given a list covering 17 somatic and psychic complaints that are frequently used to check for symptoms that reflect stress or malaise. Depression at 32 years was also measured using a 13-item Beck Depression Inventory to score participants. Socio-economic status was measured at 32 years by classifying as ‘non-manual’ or ‘manual’ following a standard classification of occupations. The use of social networks was studied by asking the participants to list the importance of people into three categories: family and relatives, friends and other important persons. Lastly, life events at 32 years were measured by asking participants if a life event has been experienced within the last 12 months using a list of events resembling those that were asked when they were 16 years old but modified to fit their adult life.
According to the responses from the questionnaires, a total of 317 (178 females and 139 males) participants had divorced families and 1069 (585 females and 484 males) participants had non-divorced families. The females from divorced families reported significantly higher in Psychosomatic Symptom scores than females who were from non-divorced families. Females from divorced families also had a higher prevalence of depression and minor psychiatric disturbance. The male participants from the divorced and non-divorced families did not differ in psychological well-being.
The results of the article described above show the impacts of divorce on children’s emotional well-being into later adulthood. The purpose of the follow-up study was to determine whether people who experienced parental divorce before the age of 16 differed in their psychological well-being as 32-year-old adults from families who didn’t divorce. It was also seen that the psychological well-being between males and females is also different with females’ social relationships being greatly affected.
I have chosen to do an overview on the article “Long-term psychosocial effects of parental divorce: A follow-up study from adolescence to adulthood” by Hurre, Junkkari, and Aro (2006), because I believe there are long-term effect of parental divorce on children that extend into their adulthood lives. This information is useful for children who are currently in divorced families to help find ways of intervention before they go into their adulthood. I believe that the use of family therapy with their children would be beneficial in diminishing the chances of difficulties in their children’s psychological well-being when they get older. Further studies should also be made to see if family therapy of divorced families (including their children), impacts the long-term effect of their health behavior into adulthood.
- Huurre, T., Junkkari, H., & Aro, H. (2006). Long-term psychosocial effects of parental divorce: A follow-up study from adolescence to adulthood. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 256(4), 256-263. DOI: 10.1007/s00406-006-0641-y