Study: Despite Greater Social Acceptance Divorce Still Seriously Damages a Child’s Prospects in Life

Thu Jul 10, 2008 - 12:15 pm EST

By Tim Waggoner

LONDON, U.K. July 10, 2008 ( - On the 50th anniversary of a British longitudinal social study, researchers have revealed that the years of collected data indicate that a child whose parents are divorced is more likely to struggle academically, emotionally and in future relationships of their own, reports the Daily Telegraph.

"Divorce has repercussions that reverberate through childhood and into adulthood. 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," the researchers said.

"The National Child Development Study (NCDS) is a continuing, multi-disciplinary longitudinal study which takes as its subjects all the people born in one week in England, Scotland and Wales in one week in March 1958," reads the website for the Centre for Longitudinal Studies.

The study compares over 17,000 people born in 1958 with several other groups of similar size born in the subsequent decades.

Besides finding an increased divorce rate among couples, the study found that, contrary to the expectations of some, an increased social acceptance of divorce over the years has not reduced the negative effects experienced by the children of divorced parents.

"It might be expected that as divorce has become more commonplace, its effects might have reduced. Yet a comparison with children born in 1970 shows that this is not the case," the researchers said.

"The estimates across cohorts are surprisingly similar in magnitude and not significantly different from one another."

The study found that children from divorced families are less likely to be educated, and are more likely to suffer depression and to be claiming benefits.

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