It is important to note that familial and parental issues majorly impact children’s mental and psychological well-being, with differential effects depending on their age and developmental stage. The given literature review will primarily assess the current and recently available data on the correlational and causational reciprocity of such problems and children’s mental and physical health with a prime accentuation on the former.
One should be aware that parental and familial issues impact children both on a short-term and long-term basis. It is stated that high self-blame, conflict intensity, and parental conflict perception are “negatively associated with the children’s evaluations of their quality of life, whereas active coping was positively associated with it” (Sorek, 2019, p. 1). In other words, counseling efforts can be allocated toward addressing the root causes of perception rather than providing objective evaluations of the current state of these children. A study suggests that the hostility degree of a conflict element of divorce is directly related to post-divorce life satisfaction among all family members (Lamela et al., 2016). It substantiates the fact that “Children raised in households exposed to acute or chronic economic strain, heightened levels of parental psychopathology, negative parent-child relations, and parental separation, divorce, and remarriage have been shown to experience a variety of negative psychological outcomes, including increased anxiety, depression, hostility and criminality” (Balfour et al., 2019, p. 42). In order to address these complications, it is stated that “sociological and psychoanalytical approaches” can be more effective than traditional family counseling procedures (Eyo, 2018, p. 1).
Another study suggests that children of divorced parents experience the equivalent level of depression as children who lost their parents or were abandoned by them (Chen & Chan, 2016). In the case of children’s well-being, it is stated that “individuals affected by parental divorce have a higher risk of developing a variety of mental health conditions” (Auersperg et al., 2019, p. 1). A multidisciplinary study reveals that the severity of the impact on children can vary on a racial and ethnic basis (Demir-Dagdas et al., 2017). Divorce and other familial issues affect children’s educational outcomes (Brand et al., 2019). White children were the most vulnerable to educational issues, whereas non-white children were mostly unaffected (Brand et al., 2019).
For adolescent children, communication and support were the prime minimizers of the negative effects (Morrison et al., 2017). Familial issues non-related to divorce also affected adolescents’ romantic relationships (Braithwaite et al., 2016). Divorce can impair children’s quality of life in the long term, where younger children experience depression, which translates to risky behavior in the later stage of development, such as addiction (Gustavsen et al., 2016). It is stated that “parental divorce/separation is associated with an increased risk for child and adolescent adjustment problems, including academic difficulties, disruptive behaviors, and depressed mood” (D’Onofrio & Emery, 2019). The major post-divorce effect, such as message carrying, affected female children and older adolescents the most (Yárnoz-Yaben & Garmendia, 2016).
A study indicates that resilience-based counseling methods can be highly effective in reducing the long-term effects of divorce (Schaan & Vögele, 2016). Even temporary parental separation has equivalent effects on children as divorce (Garriga & Pennoni, 2020). The biggest long-term effect of familial issues is adult offspring depression among children (Sands et al., 2017). Allowing children to voice their perspectives can be critical in minimizing the negative effects (Brand et al., 2017). A study finds that “quality relationships regarding social support are more significant than quantity or amount of social support given by parents, family members, or friends” (Jackson & Fife, 2017, p. 123). Suicidality is higher among children of divorced or alcoholic parents (Thompson et al., 2016).
Auersperg, F., Vlasak, T., Ponocny, I., & Barth, A. (2019). Long-term effects of parental divorce on mental health – A meta-analysis. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 1, 1-94. Web.
Balfour, A, Morgan, M., & Vincent, C. (2019). How couple relationships shape our world: Clinical practice, research, and policy perspectives. Routledge. Web.
Braithwaite, S. R., Doxey, R. A., Dowdle, K. K., & Fincham, F. D. (2016). The unique influences of parental divorce and parental conflict on emerging adults in romantic relationships. Journal of Adult Development, 23(4), 214–225. Web.
Brand, C., Howcroft, G., & Hoelson, C. N. (2017). The voice of the child in parental divorce: Implications for clinical practice and mental health practitioners. Journal of Child & Adolescent Mental Health, 29(2), 169–178. Web.
Brand, J. E., Moore, R., Song, X., & Xie, Y. (2019). Parental divorce is not uniformly disruptive to children’s educational attainment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(15), 7266–7271. Web.
Brand, J. E., Moore, R., Song, X., & Xie, Y. (2019). Why does parental divorce lower children’s educational attainment? A causal mediation analysis. Sociological Science, 5(11), 264-292. Web.
Chen, M., & Chan, K. L. (2016). Parental absence, child victimization, and psychological well-being in rural China. Child Abuse & Neglect, 59, 45–54. Web.
Demir-Dagdas, T., Isik-Ercan, Z., Intepe-Tingir, S., & Cava-Tadik, Y. (2017). Parental divorce and children from diverse backgrounds: multidisciplinary perspectives on mental health, parent–child relationships, and educational experiences. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 59(6), 469–485. Web.
D’Onofrio, B., & Emery, R. (2019). Parental divorce or separation and children’s mental health. World Psychiatry: Official Journal of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA), 18(1), 100–101. Web.
Eyo, U. E. (2018). Divorce: Causes and effects on children. Asian Journal of Humanities and Social Studies, 6(5), 1-12. Web.
Garriga, A., & Pennoni, F. (2020). The Causal Effects of Parental Divorce and Parental Temporary Separation on Children’s Cognitive Abilities and Psychological Well-being According to Parental Relationship Quality. Social Indicators Research, 1-25. Web.
Gustavsen, G. W., Nayga, R. M., & Wu, X. (2016). Effects of parental divorce on teenage children’s risk behaviors: Incidence and persistence. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 37(3), 474–487. Web.
Jackson, L. J., & Fife, S. T. (2017). The impact of parental divorce: The relationship between social support and confidence levels in young adults. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 59(2), 123–140. Web.
Lamela, D., Figueiredo, B., Bastos, A., & Feinberg, M. (2016). Typologies of post-divorce coparenting and parental well-being, parenting quality and children’s psychological adjustment. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 47, 716–728. Web.
Morrison, S. C., Fife, S. T., & Hertlein, K. M. (2017). Mechanisms behind prolonged effects of parental divorce: A phenomenological study. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 58(1), 44–63. Web.
Sands, A., Thompson, E. J., & Gaysina, D. (2017). Long-term influences of parental divorce on offspring affective disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 218, 105–114. Web.
Schaan, V. K., & Vögele, C. (2016). Resilience and rejection sensitivity mediate long-term outcomes of parental divorce. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 25(11), 1267–1269. Web.
Sorek, Y. (2019). Children of divorce evaluate their quality of life: The moderating effect of psychological processes. Children and Youth Services Review, 107, 104533. Web.
Thompson, R. G., Alonzo, D., Hu, M.-C., & Hasin, D. S. (2016). The influences of parental divorce and maternal-versus-paternal alcohol abuse on offspring lifetime suicide attempt. Drug and Alcohol Review, 36(3), 408–414. Web.
Yárnoz-Yaben, S., & Garmendia, A. (2016). Parental divorce and emerging adults’ subjective well-being: The role of “carrying messages.” Journal of Child and Family Studies, 25(2), 638–646. Web.