Determinants of adjustment for children of divorcing parents

Oppenheimer, K.; Prinz, R.J.; Bella, B.S.

Family Medicine 22(2): 107-111


ISSN/ISBN: 0742-3225
PMID: 2323490
Document Number: 366449
Family physicians frequently see children and parents when they are adjusting to marital separation. This study examined how well child adjustment at school could be determined from an assessment of interspousal relations, maternal functioning, and child perception variables. Teachers evaluated adaptive functioning, social withdrawal, and aggressive behavior at school for a carefully selected sample of 22 boys and 24 girls (ages 7-12) whose parents had been separated for two to 18 months. Regression analyses indicated that boys' overall school adjustment was associated with better maternal parenting skills, lower child fear of abandonment, less blaming of father for the separation, and positive parental verbal attributions toward the other parent. Girls with better overall school adjustment reported less blaming of their mothers and a higher rate of positive attributions by mother about father. These findings suggest concepts family physicians can use in working with families to minimize the effect of divorce on children.

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