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J Fam Psychol. 2000 Dec;14(4):671-87.

Distress among young adults from divorced families.

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Department of Psychology, Gilmer Hall, Box 400400, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22904, USA.


Researchers find that most children from divorced families function normally, but some clinicians assert that young people are disturbed even many years after a divorce. These accounts may be less discrepant than they appear, because research typically focuses on notably problematic behavior (disorder), whereas case studies emphasize more subtle inner turmoil (distress). In Study 1 college students reported painful feelings, beliefs, and memories about their parents divorce on a reliable new measure, but they also reported accepting the divorce and having few psychological symptoms. Distress about family life was greater among students from divorced than from married families. Study 2 replicated these findings in a community sample of young people from low-income divorced families. In both studies, greater distress was associated with children's residence, frequency of contact with fathers, interparental conflict, and psychological symptoms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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