This study of nearly 10,000 adolescents is the first to look at the children of divorce at four time points: about 3 years and 1 year before divorce and 1 year and 3 years after divorce.
The results suggest children don't respond uniformly to the ending of their parents' marriage, said Yongmin Sun, co-author of the study and assistant professor of sociology at Ohio State University's Mansfield campus.
"The effects of divorce take two time paths," Sun said. "The damage in children's psychological well-being is already observable three years prior to divorce, but gets worse as the divorce approaches. Yet, as the event of divorce recedes, the detrimental effect becomes smaller, indicating a recovery in children's psychological well-being after the divorce. Test scores, however, continue to decline."
Sun conducted the study with Yuanzhang Li of the Allied Technology Group, Inc. Their results appear in the May issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family.
Data for this study came from the National Education
Longitudinal Study, which surveyed thousands of students
beginning in 8th grade in 1988. This study involved 9,542
Contact: Yongmin Sun
Ohio State University