The Effects of a Divorce of Parents on a Child's Mental Health
Dr. Megan Smith
Divorce happens to about 40-50% of all marriages in the United States or about 2.9 per 1,000 people. Research has shown that family structure has an impact on the health and well-being of children. Because healthy childhood development is so important, it is imperative that we understand and study the relationship between divorce and mental health, so we can help mitigate the potential adverse effects. The current study employed a secondary longitudinal data analysis. Participants in middle and high school (n=5,447) answered several survey questions about their life experiences and mental health. Analysis of variance assessed whether or not there were significant differences in depression, anxiety, and stress between adolescents who reported their parents were divorced or not divorced. There was a significant effect of divorce on the mental health of children; Depression [F(1, 5242) = 24.485, p< 0.01], Stress [F(1, 5446) = 12.728, p< 0.01], Anxiety [F(1, 5238) = 16.890, p< 0.01]. Results indicate parental divorce negatively impacts children’s depression, anxiety, and perceived stress.These findings may guide future mental health interventions for children whose parents have had a divorce.
Cleveland, Harrison M.; Perry, Peyton; Chavez, Michelle; and Smith, Megan, "The Effects of a Divorce of Parents on a Child's Mental Health" (2020). 2020 Undergraduate Research Showcase. 28.