This study examined whether the occurrence and timing of parental separation or divorce was related to trajectories of academic grades and mother- and teacher-reported internalizing and externalizing problems. The authors used hierarchical linear models to estimate trajectories for children who did and did not experience their parents' divorce or separation in kindergarten through 10th grade (N = 194). A novel approach to analyzing the timing of divorce/separation was adopted, and trajectories were estimated from 1 year prior to the divorce/separation to 3 years after the event. Results suggest that early parental divorce/separation is more negatively related to trajectories of internalizing and externalizing problems than is later divorce/separation, whereas later divorce/separation is more negatively related to grades. One implication of these findings is that children may benefit most from interventions focused on preventing internalizing and externalizing problems, whereas adolescents may benefit most from interventions focused on promoting academic achievement.
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