This completely updated second edition presents an integrated, multidisciplinary account of children's experiences of divorce from historical, cultural and demographic perspectives. The author highlights children's resilience, but is sensitive to children's pain throughout the divorce process and afterwards. In addition he reviews the psychological, social, economic and legal consequences of divorce, and examines how children's risk is predicted by parental conflict, relationships with both parents, financial strain, custody disputes, and other factors. The author uses his family systems model to integrate research findings into a theoretical whole and to evaluate psychological interventions with divorcing and divorced families.
Chapter 1: Overview
If one thing characterizes all divorces, it is change. Some changes begin well before the physical separation; others continue long after the legal divorce. Changes can make the family environment better or worse, but changes do require children to adapt. Thus, the psychological effects of divorce on children must be considered on two levels. The first is the process of adaptation to change, a process that is almost always difficult but less stressful if a divorce entails fewer disruptions and stability is reestablished more quickly. The second level concerns children's long-term psychological adjustment. The stability that is reached in the postdivorce family environment may be better, worse, or merely different from that which existed before the divorce. Particular patterns of family interaction, as well ...