The long-term effects of divorce on children: a review

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1991 May;30(3):349-60. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199105000-00001.


A comprehensive review of research from several disciplines regarding long-term effects of divorce on children yields a growing consensus that significant numbers of children suffer for many years from psychological and social difficulties associated with continuing and/or new stresses within the postdivorce family and experience heightened anxiety in forming enduring attachments at later developmental stages including young adulthood. Different conceptual models in the field are explicated. Major lacunae in research, particularly around issues of public policy, are identified. The critical importance of expanding clinical research to enhance understanding of the child's perspective and experience is proposed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affective Symptoms / etiology*
  • Child
  • Child Custody
  • Child Development
  • Divorce / psychology*
  • Family / psychology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Public Policy
  • Research Design / standards
  • Social Adjustment
  • United States