Divorce Science Research Updates– 5-22-2015


This week there are 7 new articles dealing with parent-child relationships postdivorce, alienated children interventions, stepfamilies, and predictors of divorce.  The work by Kalmijn exploring the variations in father-child relationships postdivorce is an important contribution to our understanding of the impact of divorce on parent-child relationships.  Also, alienation continues to be challenging for some families experiencing severe conflict, the work by Reay provides new ideas for helping these families.

Parent-Child Relationships Post-Divorce

Davies, H. (2015). Shared Parenting or Shared Care? Learning from Children’s Experiences of a Post-Divorce Shared Care Arrangement. Children & Society, 29(1), 1-14. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/chso.12013

Kalmijn, M. (2015). How Childhood Circumstances Moderate the Long-Term Impact of Divorce on Father-Child Relationships. Journal of Marriage and Family, , n/a-n/a. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jomf.12202

Help for Alientated Children and Families

Reay, K. M. (2015). Family Reflections: A Promising Therapeutic Program Designed to Treat Severely Alienated Children and Their Family System. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 43(2), 197-207. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01926187.2015.1007769

Stepfamilies

Ivanova, K. (2015). Relationship satisfaction of the previously married: The significance of relationship specific costs and rewards in first and repartnering unions. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0265407515583942

Jensen, T. M., Shafer, K., & Holmes, E. K. (2015). Transitioning to stepfamily life: the influence of closeness with biological parents and stepparents on children’s stress. Child & Family Social Work, , n/a-n/a. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12237

Predictors of Divorce

Boertien, D., von Scheve, C., & Park, M. (2015). Can Personality Explain the Educational Gradient in Divorce? Evidence From a Nationally Representative Panel Survey. Journal of Family Issues, doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0192513X15585811

Torvik, F. A., Gustavson, K., Roysamb, E., & Tambs, K. (2015). Health, health behaviors, and health dissimilarities predict divorce:  Results from the HUNT study. BMC Psychology, 3(13) doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40359-015-0072-5

Help for Alientated Children and Families

Reay, K. M. (2015). Family Reflections: A Promising Therapeutic Program Designed to Treat Severely Alienated Children and Their Family System. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 43(2), 197-207. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01926187.2015.1007769

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Marital History of U.S. Men from 1940-2012


Over time this figure shows the changes in marital history of men in different birth cohorts (a birth cohort is all the men born in a specific time period).  The men born in the years 1940-44 were ages 77-82 when this report was created.  The men born in the years 1975-79 were ages 32-37.  Keep this in mind when looking at these data.  The younger group (1975-79) is still likely to experience more changes in their marital history.

Nevertheless, you can still see some trends.  On average, about 2/3 of men are married at least once and this has remained constant over much of this period except this most recent period (those born 1975-79 who still have a chance of marriage).  A more difficult trend to determine in whether 2nd and 3rd time marriages are declining– the cohorts between 1950-1969 seem to suggest this trend.  The increase in the number of men never getting married is also apparent, but there is also a trend of marrying at older ages so some of the men born between 1970-1979 may still get married.  Marital History of Men By birth cohorts 2008-2012

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Remarriage Rates by State – United States 2008-2012


The U.S. Census Bureau published a recent report on remarriage.  Here are a couple of graphs that illustrate some of the findings. In the graph below you can see which states have a higher than average remarriage rate ( Purple)  and which states have a lower rate (Green).  Interesting to speculate as to why the Midwest  and Northeast has a lower rate.  May be due to age of the population.  Note that about 25% of all adults (older than 15) are remarried.

Percentage of Ever-Married People by State 2008-2012

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New US Census Report on Remarriage– 2015


The U.S. Census Bureau published a recent report on remarriage.  Here are a couple of graphs that illustrate some of the findings.

Percentage of Women Married 3 times US  2008-2012

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Coparenting Children with Disabilities by Jeremy Kanter


Although divorce rates are high among parents of children with disabilities (e.g., Hartley, Barker, Seltzer, Greenberg,  Bolt, Floyd, & Orsmond, 2010) coparenting education classes are just beginning to develop tracks, components, or programs for separating or divorcing parents who have children with disabilities. At the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) annual conference last month, the fact that coparenting education classes have neglected to attend to special circumstances linked to coparenting a child with a disability was discussed in a few of the sessions I attended.  I followed up with a few coparenting education classes when I returned from the conference and was energized to learn that some of the online programs are beginning to address this issue!

Michelle Muncy of  Online Parenting Programs is one example of an online program that is planning to develop an online coparenting education program for parents who are coparenting children with disabilities. Focus on Kids, an online coparenting education class developed by Dr. David Schramm and colleagues at The University of Missouri is another example. Focus on Kids now offers fact sheets for families with special circumstances. The fact sheets that Dr. Schramm and colleagues have created for divorcing parents who have children with disabilities cover a range of topics that are especially relevant to this special circumstance; some of the topics include:

  •  Custodial rights or what to expect as a primary caregiver of a child with a disability
  • How to divide medical costs for children with disabilities
  • The children’s cognitive capacity to understand their parents’ divorce
  • Special issues that need to be documented in parenting plans
  • Issues specific to children who have life-threatening, chronic, psychological & behavioral disabilities

With the high divorce rates for parents of children with disabilities, some of these issues in the Focus on Kidsresources are crucial components to coparenting education. Although many parents experience similar challenges when going through the separation or divorce process, it is important for programs to address the unique needs and challenges linked to families with special circumstances. Special circumstances are not limited to children with disabilities; coparenting when intimate partner violence, alcoholism, or military duties influence parents’ roles also provide unique challenges in the separation processes. In some situations, one parent may be largely absent from the child’s life, and these families may benefit from additional support in educational settings (online or face-to-face). Although the transition to tailoring information to families with special circumstances has been slow, it is promising to see that programs have begun to address these issues!

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Updated Listing of Journals with Divorce & Remarriage & Stepfamily Content


A list of the major journals that publish material about divorce, remarriage and stepfamily issues  has been updated.  The list includes journals with a primary focus on divorce, remarriage and stepfamilies as well as “family journals” that publish occasional aspects on these issues.

Also, included are family therapy journals that include a focus on couples and families who are dealing with divorce, remarriage and stepfamily issues in therapy

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New Stepfamily Research Findings


Coleman, M., Ganong, L., Russell, L., & Frye-Cox, N. (2015). Stepchildren’s Views About Former Step-Relationships Following Stepfamily Dissolution. Journal of Marriage and Family, 77(3), 775-790. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jomf.12182

King, V., Boyd, L. M., & Thorsen, M. L. (2015). Adolescents’ Perceptions of Family Belonging in Stepfamilies. Journal of Marriage and Family, 77(3), 761-774. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jomf.12181

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