Sunday, November 03, 2013

Does parental separation affect children's partnership outcomes?

I don't want to misrepresent this study and the findings so will just cut and paste the extract and you can draw your own conclusions:

Parental separation/divorce in childhood and partnership outcomes at age 30.


Department of Psychological Medicine, Christchurch Health and Development Study, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand.



Previous research has found that children exposed to separation/divorce may also experience relationship problems in adulthood. The aim of this investigation was to examine this issue in a birth cohort of over 900 New Zealand children studied to age 30.


Data were gathered over the course of the Christchurch Health and Development Study (CHDS). The CHDS is a 30 year longitudinal study of a birth cohort of 1265 children born in Christchurch (NZ) in 1977. The data collected included the following: (a) timing and number of parental separations and divorces from birth to 15 years; (b) partnership outcomes (16-30 years) of the number of cohabiting/marriage partnerships; positive partner relations; negative partner relations; partner adjustment/conduct problems; and interpartner violence victimization and perpetration; and (c) potential covariate factors.


Study findings showed the presence of significant associations between childhood parental separations/divorces and number of cohabiting/marriage partnerships (16-30 years) (p < .001), negative partner relations (p = .021), extent of partner adjustment/conduct problems (p < .001), and perpetration of interpartner violence (p = .018). Childhood parental separation/divorce explained less than 2.5% of the variance in partnership outcomes. These associations were explained statistically by a series of covariate factors associated with childhood parental separation/divorce including parental history of illicit drug use, childhood sexual abuse, childhood conduct problems (7-9 years), interparental conflict and violence, childhood physical punishment/maltreatment, family socio-economic status at the child's birth, and parental history of criminality. Tests of gender interaction showed that the effect of childhood parental separations/divorces may be the same for males and females. Analysis of the number of childhood parental separations/divorces experienced into three age groups (birth to 5, 5-10 years and 10-15 years) yielded similar results.


These findings suggest that the general associations between childhood parental separation/divorce and partner relationships in adulthood reflect the consequences of various contextual factors that are associated with childhood parental separation.
© 2013 The Authors. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry © 2013 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

1 comment:

Brendan said...

The modeling influence of parental behaviour on children cannot be underestimated. Parents help to shape their children's 'world view'; those unspoken beliefs and attitudes that underpin our values and behaviour.

If parents demonstrate that the most intimate of relationships are 'disposable' then it should be unsurprising that their children imbibe that attitude, either consciously or unconsciously. Alternatively, if children observe parents working through their difficulties and conflicts, then they understand that there is an underlying value in the relationship that makes such perseverance worthwhile.