Divorce Processes’ Impact on Children’s Mental Health and Well-Being


The evaluation of the subject of divorce and parental separation is an essential branch of scientific research conducted in the fields of social sciences and childhood. Children throughout the world suffer from the damaging effects caused by their parents’ alienation towards each other, which often results in long-term separation (Afifi et al., 2009). Large numbers of research endeavors were devoted to the issues caused by parents’ disunion. Scholars of cognitive, psychological, and social sciences aspire to uncover the mechanisms underlying the phenomenon mentioned, hoping to acquire additional knowledge and establish efficient frameworks.

Outlining the main consequences of the divorce processes manifested in affected children’s well-being is an integral part of contemporary social studies. Securing the necessary information demands implementing specific techniques and strategies, especially given the subject’s sensitivity (Emery, 2011). Negative emotions and emotional traumas often account for these investigations, forcing the researchers to be remarkably cautious (Wellington and Szczerbinski, 2007). In addition, it is necessary to explore the mental health conditions present in the adolescents, as well as the mechanisms that could potentially alleviate adverse symptoms (Johnston, Roseby and Kuehnle, 2009). The current research proposal establishes a framework to be utilized for an investigation in the aforementioned area, discussing the design of the study and examining the most appropriate methods for the goals chosen. The approach adopted will be described in detail, explaining the leading positive and negative features encountered.

Research Topic Justification

The harmful outcomes of parental separation are of exceptional interest for various inquiries from the scholars of social sciences, providing a lucrative ground for experimental and quasi-experimental approaches. A substantial body of scientific knowledge is dedicated to the discussion of ramifications that arise during the divorce processes, as well as to the exploration of the damages sustained by the underage individuals (Anderson, 2014). It appears that the topic of separation and parents’ marriage is rather sophisticated, from stating the adversity of divorces to providing data regarding the accumulation of resilience among affected youth (Kim, 2011). A concise understanding of the impact caused by the disruption of all the connections between the mother and the father is remarkably challenging to achieve, given the importance of each situation. Furthermore, researchers highlight the influence of the children’s personality traits that can drastically alter the events’ outcomes (Kelly, 2012). Many features of the effects generated by separation procedures remain unexplained or undiscovered, demanding further investigation into this field, especially involving children affected by such activities (Wallerstein, 1985).

It is well known that studies involving underage individuals are especially difficult to plan and conduct. Given the ethical complications, the wide range of participants’ ages, and the theoretical and situational factors, many scholars withdraw from such endeavors (Mukherji and Albon, 2009). In order to reduce the existing gap, evaluate the knowledge acquired by previous research, and utilize newly-developed approaches, it is imperative to continue the scientific advances. The current study attempts to explore the subject discussed, analyzing the appropriate social sciences methodologies to be applied for the assessment of the effects of divorce on a child’s mental health and well-being.

Suggested Research Design

The present study adopts mixed methods investigation techniques, combining the use of qualitative and quantitative data. The design proposed is devised from several steps, each of them essential for the success of the endeavor. First of all, the participants between the ages of 9 and 12 who undergone their biological parents’ divorce process will be recruited for this research. Additionally, children of the same ages who live in intact families will be involved (Vélez et al., 2011). In order to attain a comprehensive account of the phenomenon and introduce a more practical approach, both interviews and questionnaires will be implemented (Macnaughton, 2008). In the first phase, the children engaged will complete a pre-interview questionnaire assessing their overall mental health condition.

During the second phase, the adolescents will partake in sequences of several interviews. In this activity, a psychology specialist will implement the family systems theory to grade the interviewee’s psychosocial adjustments, highlighting the issues and complications concerning the individual’s mental health characteristics (Finley and Schwartz, 2010). After the completion of the interactions, the initial questionnaire will be administered again to evaluate the potential changes that occurred during the study. Finally, the data collected will be analyzed, and appropriate conclusions will be created based on the evidence gathered.

Research Methodology: Critical Analysis

As stated before, the current research employs the mixed methods approach, obtaining both qualitative and quantitative data. The broad spectrum of the negative effects produced by the parental separation and the striking differences of the divorce outcomes play a crucial part in this decision. According to the topic chosen, it is necessary to develop a design that will improve the data’s accuracy (D’Onofrio and Emery, 2019). In addition, it is possible to create a more complete picture of the phenomenon when applying the mixed methods strategy, as it is highly effective when attaining this goal (Robertson and Dearling, 2004). Furthermore, it is also necessary to validate the questionnaires applied, providing extra evidence regarding their credibility and implementation possibilities.

The procedure adopted allows for balancing the advantages and disadvantages of the approach chosen, constructing a valuable assessment strategy. The benefits of the mixed method design are crucial to consider, especially the utilization of a practical and problem-driven solution (Blanche et al., 2006). Adopting this procedure can assist in ascertaining the adverse outcomes of divorce processes and also contribute to the development of empirical methodologies aimed at alleviating such unfortunate consequences (Fraser, 2004). Therefore, it is possible to provide the individuals affected with viable approaches to regaining their well-being and establishing strong mental health (Strohschein, 2005). Furthermore, it is critical to note the other values of the investigation tactic employed, search as constructing more precise connections between questionnaires, interviews, and their impact on the separation experience (Denscombe, 2014). Obtaining a credible and comprehensive observation of the concept described can highly benefit both contemporary and future researchers.

Even though the methodology applied appears to be highly influential and favorable, it is also necessary to address the disadvantages that are often encountered in this type of study. In addition to the increased time and costs of the project, it is vital to exercise qualitative and quantitative knowledge, especially when evaluating the data collected (Flick, 2015). Moreover, the substantial focus on the distinction between qualitative and quantitative information can compel the investigators to simplify the terms implemented, overseeing the complicated reality of social studies (Donley, 2012). It is also noteworthy that a certain disparity between the findings might arise, creating a highly sophisticated situation (Moule and Hek, 2011). Nevertheless, in this research, these difficulties will be regarded when conducting the exploration.

Questionnaire and Interview Profits and Limitations

Considering the viability of designated qualitative and quantitative assessment methods is another pertinent issue for this research proposal. When adapting a methodology for a social sciences investigation, one must always refer to the features of this examination, especially the appropriateness of the chosen measures (Greenwood and Levin, 2006). In accordance with the mixed methods approach, it was necessary to select appropriate strategies, simultaneously adhering to the general theme (Waters, 2014). In this regard, deciding to implement diaries and observation would have posed additional complications for the author, forcing them to utilize a more time and resource-demanding scheme.

Observing the negative results of divorce processes is especially difficult as such consequences are often not evident or acquire significant long-term interaction. As for the focus groups, it is potentially more beneficial to ascertain the mental health and well-being issues caused by parental separation when employing more individual and personal methods (Amato and Cheadle, 2005). These approaches allow connecting with the individual on a deeper level. Such communication is more likely to be achieved through the process of interviewing (Hallowell, Lawton and Gregory, 2004). As for the questionnaires, it is necessary to state the initial well-being levels and collect the post-interview results in order to compare the tool states and outline the differences between them.

In social sciences research, multiple advantages are available when utilizing questionnaires and interviews. As for the former, they are highly economical and standardized, saving a tremendous amount of time and effort for both the researcher and the participant (Savin-Baden and Major, 2012). Moreover, questionnaire data is easier to decode and analyze as it follows a specific pattern (Wellington and Szczerbinski, 2007). Regarding the information obtained, most questionnaires are checked on the subject of their validity, and these statistics are available for other researchers, allowing them to choose more appropriate and credible materials (Frankfort-Nachmias and Leon-Guerrero, 2017). It is also possible to adopt a pre-built system that will perfectly align with the goals and assessments needed.

Nevertheless, several complications arise when appropriating questionnaires into the study. Considering the precoded questions, they can be frustrating for both the respondent and the researcher, biasing individuals towards a specific viewpoint (Kara, 2015). In addition, several questionnaires have received concerns from multiple scholars despite their positive statistics (Frankfort-Nachmias and Leon-Guerrero, 2017). Standardization of answers might also disrupt the validity of the data as there is no particular option to prove the sincerity of the participant.

As for the interviews, a large body of social research involves this approach. This strategy can be highly variable, adopting various formats and options according to the needs of the investigation. An incremental trait of this procedure is the depth of information acquired, as the respondents participate in a face-to-face discussion with a certified professional. Such communication is generally directed at uncovering personal information that cannot be obtained by utilizing questionnaires (Weber, 2017). There is little equipment required, and the individuals’ priorities and ideas are highly valued, providing additional insight into the matter. Finally, it is beneficial to note the validity of the information gathered, as it is possible to establish the accuracy of the data and the trustworthiness of the interviewee.

The general limitations of interview-based research envelope time and resource-related issues. Analyzing and decoding the knowledge obtained is highly consuming for the researcher, especially if a large number of participants were present (Dodd and Epstein, 2012). Another complication resides in the interviewer effect and additional inhibitions, for example, from the recorder, which can greatly impact the reliability (Newman et al., 2005). Furthermore, it is demanding to note the privacy component, meaning that it will be imperative to gain the individuals’ consent and ensure that the data will be anonymized (Waters, 2014). This difficulty is remarkably challenging within the present research, as all of the respondents will be underaged (Bechhofer, Bechhofer and Paterson, 2000). In this case, it will be imperative to secure the authorization of parents and guardians of the adolescents involved.


To conclude, the detailed concept for a research proposal was discussed in this paper. Contemporary studies provide a wide range of theoretical and practical options, which are in need of further examination. This research proposes a mixed-methods study design focused on obtaining qualitative and quantitative data from adolescent participants, both involved in the divorce processes and residing in intact families. Ascertaining the consequences caused by parental separation necessitates the utilization of a practical approach, which comprises questionnaires and interviews with a certified professional. It was suggested that a practical mixed methods approach is most suitable for this investigation, as well as the implementation of questionnaires and interviews instead of other available measures. Numerous advantages and disadvantages of the mixed-method strategy were explained, supporting the significance of this option and outlining the need to address potential limitations when conducting the study. Finally, the benefits and weaknesses of the designated measures were discussed, allowing to ascertain their applicability and control for future liabilities of the examination.

Reference List

Afifi, T. O. et al. (2009) ‘The relationship between child abuse, parental divorce, and lifetime mental disorders and suicidality in a nationally representative adult sample’, Child Abuse & Neglect, 33(3), pp. 139–147.

Amato, P. R. and Cheadle, J. (2005) ‘The long reach of divorce: divorce and child well-being across three generations’, Journal of Marriage and Family, 67(1), pp. 191–206.

Anderson, J. (2014) ‘The impact of family structure on the health of children: effects of divorce’, The Linacre Quarterly, 81(4), pp. 378–387.

Bechhofer, F. and Paterson, L. (2000) Principles of research design in the social sciences. London: Psychology Press.

Blanche, M. T. et al. (2006) Research in practice: applied methods for the social sciences. Cape Town: Juta and Company.

Denscombe, M. (2010) The good research guide: for small-scale social research projects. Maidenhead: McGraw Hill.

Dodd, S. and Epstein. I. (2012) Practice-based research for social work. London: Routledge

D’Onofrio, B. and Emery, R. (2019) ‘Parental divorce or separation and children’s mental health’, World Psychiatry, 18(1), pp. 100–101.

Emery, R. E. (2011) Renegotiating family relationships, second edition: divorce, child custody, and mediation. New York: Guilford Press.

Finley, G. E. and Schwartz, S. J. (2010) ‘The divided world of the child: divorce and long-term psychosocial adjustment’, Family Court Review, 48(3), pp. 516–527.

Flick, U. (2015) Introducing research methodology: a beginner’s guide to doing a research project. London: Sage.

Frankfort-Nachmias, C. and Leon-Guerrero, A. Y. (2017) Social statistics for a diverse society. 8th edn. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.

Fraser, S. (2004) Doing research with children and young people. London: Sage.

Greenwood, D. J. and Levin, M. (2006) Introduction to action research: social research for social change. London: Sage.

Kara, H. (2015) Creative research methods in the social sciences: a practical guide. Bristol: Policy Press.

Kelly, J. B. (2012) ‘Risk and protective factors associated with child and adolescent adjustment following separation and divorce: social science applications’, in Parenting plan evaluations: applied research for the family court. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 49–84.

Kim, H. S. (2011) ‘Consequences of parental divorce for child development’, American Sociological Review, 76(3), pp. 487–511.

Donley, A.M. (2012) Student handbook to sociology: research methods. New York: Facts on File.

McNaughton, G. & Hughes, P.M. (2008) Doing action research in earl childhood studies: a step by step guide. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education.

Moule, P. and Hek, G. (2011) Making sense of research: an introduction for health and social care practitioners. 4th edn. London: Sage.

Mukherji, P. and Albon, D. (2009) Research methods in early childhood: an introductory guide. London: Sage.

Newman, T. et al. (2005) Evidence based social work – a guide for the perplexed. Lyme Regis: Russell House Publishing.

Hallowell, N., Lawton, J. and Gregory, S. (2004) Reflections on research: the realities of doing research in the social sciences. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education.

Johnston, J., Roseby, V. and Kuehnle, K. (2009) In the name of the child: a developmental approach to understanding and helping children of conflicted and violent divorce, second edition. New York: Springer.

Robertson, D. and Dearling, A. (2004) The practical guide to social welfare research. Lyme Regis: Russell House Publishing.

Savin-Baden, M. and Major, C. H. (2012) Qualitative research: the essential guide to theory and practice. New York: Routledge.

Strohschein, L. (2005) ‘Parental divorce and child mental health trajectories’, Journal of Marriage and Family, 67(5), pp. 1286–1300.

Vélez, C. E. et al. (2011) ‘Protecting children from the consequences of divorce: a longitudinal study of the effects of parenting on children’s coping processes’, Child Development, 82(1), pp. 244–257.

Wallerstein, J. S. (1985) ‘The overburdened child: some long-term consequences of divorce’, Social Work, 30(2), pp. 116–123.

Waters, S. (2014) Doing your research project: a guide for first-time researchers. Revised edn. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Weber, M. (2017) Methodology of social sciences. New York: Routledge.

Wellington, J. and Szczerbinski, M. (2007) Research methods for the social sciences. New York: A&C Black.

Cite this paper

Select style


PsychologyWriting. (2022, October 24). Divorce Processes' Impact on Children's Mental Health and Well-Being. Retrieved from https://psychologywriting.com/divorce-processes-impact-on-childrens-mental-health-and-well-being/


PsychologyWriting. (2022, October 24). Divorce Processes' Impact on Children's Mental Health and Well-Being. https://psychologywriting.com/divorce-processes-impact-on-childrens-mental-health-and-well-being/

Work Cited

"Divorce Processes' Impact on Children's Mental Health and Well-Being." PsychologyWriting, 24 Oct. 2022, psychologywriting.com/divorce-processes-impact-on-childrens-mental-health-and-well-being/.


PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Divorce Processes' Impact on Children's Mental Health and Well-Being'. 24 October.


PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Divorce Processes' Impact on Children's Mental Health and Well-Being." October 24, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/divorce-processes-impact-on-childrens-mental-health-and-well-being/.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Divorce Processes' Impact on Children's Mental Health and Well-Being." October 24, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/divorce-processes-impact-on-childrens-mental-health-and-well-being/.


PsychologyWriting. "Divorce Processes' Impact on Children's Mental Health and Well-Being." October 24, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/divorce-processes-impact-on-childrens-mental-health-and-well-being/.