There is an old saying often attributed to Mark Twain that goes… “there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.”
There are all types of misleading or false examples about divorce statistics by people who have a particular point of view about what meaning we should draw from rising or falling divorce rates.
Among the most troublesome examples is provided by this website which attempts to demonstrate that most of the worst problems in society (for example, murder, rape, armed robbery, etc.) are all the result of divorce. Below is a sample of one of the tables at this website. In this graph the author asserts that the divorce rate causes the murder rate to increase. However, all this graph really shows is that there is a correlation between the murder rate and the divorce rate. In statistics a fundamental idea is that the “correlation” between two numbers does not translate into a “causal” relationship. There are at least three hypotheses that can explain the correlation between rates of murder and divorce:
- Murder causes divorce.
- Divorce causes murder.
- Some other factor (mental illness or spouse abuse) causes both divorce and murder.
The only way to figure out what is causing murder or divorce rates from rising is to test many different hypotheses and control for some of the possible other factors that may be contributing to changes in the rates. It is important to test whether rates in one period of time predict future rates.
There are plenty of real consequences of divorce that should concern us without suggesting that all of society’s ills are the result of divorce.
The United Nations updated their World Demographic Report which includes marriage and divorce rates. The data for Europe in 2011 is very complete (only two countries missing– Greece and Italy). (See comparison to the European divorce rates in 2010).
Gibraltor has the highest rate followed by Russia. Russia has had a consistently high rate of divorce but it is lower than in 2000. (see Russian divorce rates over the past 20 years). The rates of divorce in various countries reflect legal, cultural, and religious values.
The United Nations has released the World Demographic Report that provides data on patterns of the world population including marriage and divorce rates. As usual the numbers are incomplete as many countries do not report in time for this report, but the report also updates the 2011 data and these are more complete.
The United Nations released their annual World Demographics report that includes marriage and divorce rates for countries around the world. As usual the numbers are incomplete as many countries do not report in time for this report, but the report also updates the 2011 data and these are more complete.
For the divorce rates, 36 countries have reported. Among these countries, the highest rate is 4.1 divorces/population in Belarus which is the same as 2011. The next highest is 3.6 in Lativa which is lower than for 2011.
At present divorce intervention services are fragmented an underutilized. We need to design a new system to serve children and families. The first step is to begin to think more broadly about intervention. Too often we are very good at creating powerful, solitary intervention strategies—workshops, e-newsletters, video program and so forth. On their own these instructional tools are useful and beneficial, but too often they only reach a limited audience because of their availability, their attractiveness to the target audience or many other factors.
Another significant limitation of our current divorce education efforts is that they are not well integrated into the broad range of services and issues that confront divorcing families. Although family life educators can provide information and help with parenting issues and relationship issues, we are generally not capable of providing answers to financial and legal questions. Likewise, there are some families who need support to deal with issues of intimate partner violence, custody disputes and many other issues, educators are rarely capable to helping families deal with more intractable and/or dangerous issues.
One way to begin to think about divorce education programs is as a “portfolio of opportunities” that offer participants a range of opportunities or “teachable moments” to engage the educational information. This portfolio could include a range of doses of content, from quick insights that answer immediate questions to longer and deeper learning opportunities. This portfolio can evolve into an ecosystem of interventions that can appeal to a wider range of clients and take advantage of a variety of approaches to deliver education. By creating an ecosystem intervention we can build collaborations across professionals that serve families and across settings with some providing one type of service and others providing other types of services. In divorce education, this would link courts, schools, and family services and the professionals in mediation, therapy, social work and family life education.
A new model of divorce intervention services might look as follows:
Parenting Children With Special Health Needs
November 9, 2013 Time: 8:15 am - 9:30 am Bonham C
Post-divorce Coparenting of Children With Chronic Illness
Presented by: Luke Russell, Lawrence Ganong, Marilyn Coleman, Debra Gayer
The CDC (2010) estimates that between 2.5% and 3% of all single-parent and stepfamily households include a child with at least one chronic illness. Because family variables are related to children’s health outcomes and adherence to treatment plans, it’s important to better understand how post-divorce coparenting dyads arrange and organize their relationships (Chesla, 2010). A grounded theory study was conducted with divorced parents of children with chronic illnesses. Preliminary results suggest that parents who are more satisfied with their coparenting engage in minimizing accusations of incompetency, developing a “patch-it” mentality, and seeking relationships with medical providers as trusted consultants.