Research on Children of Divorce

New research on the children of divorce indicates they’re still more likely to divorce than children of intact marriages, but less so. They’re also slightly less likely to marry.

Before 1975, children whose parents had divorced were 2.5 times more likely to divorce than children from intact families. Recent research from the fall of 1999 indicates that ratio has dropped to1.4 – that is, children of divorce are now 1.4 times more likely to divorce than children from intact families.

One explanation of this change is that the culture is now more accepting of divorce and that, therefore, divorce is not as traumatic for children as it was a couple of decades ago. Because the emotional damage to children is less, they are better able to succeed in their own marriages.

Another explanation for the change is that children of divorce are less likely to marry than children from intact families. In 1973, children of divorce were 36 percent more likely to marry than were children of intact families; now recent research indicates they’re slightly less likely to marry. Research indicates that children of divorce are slightly more likely than children from intact families to live with their partner rather than marrying.

These findings are from Nicholas Wolfsinger, a professor at the University of Utah and author of a 1999 study entitled “Coupling and Uncoupling: Changing Marriage Patterns and the Intergenerational Transmission of Divorce.

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