Research on the negative impact of divorce on children’s well-being is extensive and indicates that, on average, children from divorced families suffer from more adjustment difficulties than those whose families remained intact. However, few studies have been done on the specific long-term effects on individuals who experienced parental divorce when they were particularly young. Are there maladaptive behaviors, or other implications for adult adjustment? This study explores the adaptive functioning of a college population of young adults whose parents divorced between the ages of two and seven. Participants completed questionnaires on demographic information, current level of functioning, parental marital status, and survey items taken from reliable measures. The responses of participants who were between the ages of two and seven during time of divorce were compared to the responses of two control groups: individuals whose parents divorced after the age of seven, and individuals whose families remained intact. Results indicated that marital status grouping (early divorce, later divorce, or intact family) did have a significant effect on certain aspects of adaptive functioning. Adult children of early childhood divorce indicated lower formal educational attainment, lower financial status, more reports of mental health diagnosis, higher number of transitory adult intimate relationships, less secure attachment to father, lower self-esteem, and greater learned helplessness than both later childhood divorce and intact family participants. The developmental timeframe in which divorce occurs plays a key role in young adult adaptive functioning.
|Advisor:||MacGyvers, Valanne L.|
|Commitee:||Perkins, David R., Wozencraft, Theresa A.|
|School:||University of Louisiana at Lafayette|
|School Location:||United States -- Louisiana|
|Source:||MAI 58/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Mental health, Developmental psychology, Psychology|
|Keywords:||Adaptation, Adjustment, Adult-children of divorce, Divorce, Early childhood, Young adult development|
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