As divorce becomes more acceptable in society its impact on children is reduced — or so some might argue. But new data from an ongoing British study shows that is not the case. The National Child Development Study has tracked around 17,000 people born in Britain during one week in 1958 over the course of their lives. As those people approach their 50th birthdays, researchers have compared their lives with those of other sample groups born in earlier and later years.

The study has confirmed that children born in 1958 were much less likely to experience parental divorce than children today. But it also showed that people born in 1970 were just as affected by divorce as those in the earlier group, who would be more affected by social stigma. The children of divorced parents in both groups were equally likely to lack qualifications, be receiving a welfare benefit and suffer from depression.

“The estimates across cohorts are surprisingly similar in magnitude and not significantly different from one another,” say the researchers, adding that divorce “has repercussions that reverberate throughout childhood and into adulthood.” Their report says: “Children from disrupted families tend to do less well in school and subsequent careers than their peers. They are also more likely to experience the break-up of their own partnerships.” ~ Telegraph (UK), July 9


Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet