Divorce Research Update– 6-29-2015


New ideas to consider in thinking about child support policy.  Too often we assume that over the past few decades we understand the economic consequences of divorce and that we have created appropriate policy responses regarding child support.  These 2 reports suggest that we still have much to learn.  Meyer and colleagues raise many questions about how child support laws are working and a report from the Australian Institute of Family Studies explores the variations in the economic circumstances of families in Australia, Germany, Korea, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

A more complete list of research report about divorce, remarriage and stepfamilies published in 2015 or between 2010-2015.

Meyer, D. R., Cancian, M., & Chen, Y. (2015).  Why Are Child Support Orders Becoming Less Likely after Divorce?  Social Service Review.

Despite substantial policy attention to increasing the number of custodial parents
with child support orders, the proportion reporting that they are owed child support is falling.  Potential explanations for this include increases in shared custody, increases in the …

de Vaus, D., Gray, M., Qu, L., & Stanton, D. (March 2015).  The Economic Consequences of Divorce in Six OECD Countries, Research Report No. 31,  Australian Institute of Family Studies.  

This report presents a cross-national comparison of the short- and medium-term economic effects of divorce.  Estimates for men and women are derived from longitudinal data from Australia, Germany, Korea, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

It details how the main sources of income for women change following divorce, and the relative contribution of these sources. The findings show that though divorce has a negative effect on the equivalent household incomes of women in all of these countries, the extent and duration of these negative effects differ markedly between the nations.

The report concludes by briefly considering the possible causes of these differences.

 

Good summaries of what scientists know about divorce adjustment for adults and children


Two of the leading researchers on the effects of divorce on adults and children have recently given TED talks about their work.

Dr. David Sbarra, U of Arizona, Surviving Divorce, 9 minutes

 

 

Dr. Tamara Afifi, currently at U of Iowa, How Divorce Effects Children,  19 minutes

 

Updated List of Divorce & Remarriage Research Listing for 2013


The list of some of the most important research studies related to divorce, remarriage and stepfamilies has been updated for the year 2013.  This is not a complete list, but the major studies that provide new insights into marriage formation, custody, law and so forth.

Similar summaries can be found for 2010, 2011, and 2012.

New results for 2014 are also summarized here.  

New Research Articles on Divorce–Jan & Feb., 2014


A complete list of the major articles published in 2014 with links to other articles.  Complete list of articles from 2010-2015. 

Divorce continues to be an important area of family and social science research.  Below are a few of the studies published in the early part of 2014 that provide insight into divorce issues.  Included in this summary are demographic, economic, causes of divorce, adjustment issues for adults and children, divorce education, marriage & relationship education, non-residential parenting and a new report on custody and shared parenting.

Demographic Issues

Bellido, H., & Marcén, M.Divorce laws and fertility. Labour Economics, (0) doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.labeco.2014.01.005

Kennedy, S., & Ruggles, S. (2014). Breaking up is hard to count: The rise of divorce in the united states, 1980-2010. Demography, , 1-12. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13524-013-0270-9

Kulu, H. (2014). Marriage duration and divorce: The seven-year itch or a lifelong itch? Demography, , 1-13. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13524-013-0278-1

Divorce & Economics– Especially the Recession

Baghestani, H., & Malcolm, M. (2014). Marriage, divorce and economic activity in the US: 1960-2008. Applied Economics Letters, , 528-532. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13504851.2013.872753

Cohen, P. (2014). Recession and divorce in the united states, 2008-2011. Population Research and Policy Review, 1-14. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11113-014-9323-z

Causes of Divorce

Røsand, G. B., Slinning, K., Røysamb, E., & Tambs, K. (2014). Relationship dissatisfaction and other risk factors for future relationship dissolution: A population-based study of 18,523 couples. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 49(1), 109-119. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00127-013-0681-3

Adult Adjustment to Divorce

Kulik, L., & Kasa, Y. (2014). Adjustment to divorce: A comparison of ethiopian immigrant and israeli-born men. Journal of Community Psychology, 42(2), 191-208. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcop.21604

Children’s Adjustment to Divorce

Mandemakers, J. J., & Kalmijn, M. (2014). Do mother’s and father’s education condition the impact of parental divorce on child well-being? Social Science Research, 44(0), 187-199. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ssresearch.2013.12.003

Non-residential & Shared Parenting Issues

Finzi-Dottan, R., & Cohen, O. (2014). Predictors of parental communication and cooperation among divorcing spouses. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 23(1), 39-51. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10826-012-9684-z

Modecki, K. L., Hagan, M. J., Sandler, I., & Wolchik, S. A. (2014). Latent profiles of nonresidential father engagement six years after divorce predict long-term offspring outcomes. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, , 1-14. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15374416.2013.865193

Rodriguez, S. R. (2014). “We’ll only see parts of each other’s lives:” the role of mundane talk in maintaining nonresidential parent–child relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0265407514522898

Aging, Intergenerational Issues and Divorce

Cooney, T. M., Proulx, C. M., Snyder-Rivas, L., & Benson, J. J. (2014). Role ambiguity among women providing care for ex-husbands. Journal of Women & Aging, 26(1), 84-104. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08952841.2014.859502

Ganong, L., & Coleman, M. (2014). Responsibility inferences and intergenerational obligations to parents and stepparents: Are Step/Children less obligated when older adults are at fault for their problems? Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 55(1), 64-81. doi:10.1080/10502556.2013.862098

Stepfamily Issues

Doodson, L. J., & Davies, A. P. C. (2014). Different challenges, different well-being: A comparison of psychological well-being across stepmothers and biological mothers and across four categories of stepmothers. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 55(1), 49-63. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10502556.2013.862094

Marriage & Relationship Education

Cordova, J. V. (2014). Findings and future directions for marriage checkup research. Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association, Washington, DC. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/14321-011

Cordova, J. V. (2014). The marriage checkup practitioner’s guide: Promoting lifelong relationship health. Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association, Washington, DC. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/14321-000

Divorce Education

Stallman, H. M., & Sanders, M. R. (2014). A randomized controlled trial of family transitions triple P: A group-administered parenting program to minimize the adverse effects of parental divorce on children. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 55(1), 33-48. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10502556.2013.862091

Legal Issues and Divorce Services 

Pruett, M. K., & DiFonzo, J. H. (2014).  Closing the Gap: Research, Policy, Practice and Shared Parenting AFCC Think Tank Final Report to be published in Family Court Review

Research Methods for Divorce Research

Lamela, D., Figueiredo, B., Bastos, A., & Martins, H. (2014). Psychometric properties of the portuguese version of the posttraumatic growth inventory short form among divorced adults. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 30(1), 3-14. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1027/1015-5759/a000161

Other Summaries of divorce research for 2010,  2011, 2012, 2013 

How to Lie with Divorce Statistics


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:

  1. Murder causes divorce.
  2. Divorce causes murder.
  3. 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.

Alert: false graph about divorce and murder rates

Should I Try and Work on My Marriage or Just Get Divorced?


This is a tough question that faces many couples during their marriage.  There are many issues to consider and it is not always easy to find helpful advice.  Alan Hawkins and his colleagues from Brigham Young University have written a very thoughtful guide to help couples think through this process.

They include helpful activities that either (or both) partners can do to get a realistic assessment of where they are.  Hawkins and colleagues also provide information about the effects of divorce on children and adults.

This is a valuable resource for couples.

Does Religion help or hurt divorce adjustment?


There has been much study of the factors that contribute to divorce adjustment, but in general most scientists have overlooked the religious aspects of divorce.  This is surprising considering that most Americans report believing in God and many regularly attend religious services.  Kumrei and colleagues recently correct for this oversight and report on a study that explores the spiritual stress and coping experiences of divorcing individuals.

The scientists tested a theoretical model of how religious ideas and spiritual strategies may influence divorce outcomes.  Based on previous theories of stress and coping, the researchers began with the idea that divorcing individuals’ views of divorce may be viewed from a religious perspective.  In particular, divorce may be interpreted as a sacred loss and desecration.  Kurmrei and colleagues suggest that when people view divorce initially in negative terms, this belief is likely to lead to more divorce adjustment problems.  Additionally, the scientists suggest there are both positive and negative forms of religious coping with divorce.  The positive forms such as relying on prayer, private religious rituals or worship to overcome feelings of anger, hurt and fear will lead to better adjustment.  On the other hand, negative forms of religious coping such as viewing divorce as a punishment from God, experiencing tension with one’s religious community or spiritual guilt would contribute to more difficulties in adjusting to divorce.

As might be expected those individuals who viewed divorce as a sacred loss were more depressed and were more likely to use poor conflict resolution strategies.  The more negative religious coping a person used the more likely they were to be depressed one year following divorce and the more positive religious coping they used predicted more growth a year later.  These findings remained important even when other forms of non-religious positive coping such as problem-solving, use of humor, planning, and acceptance were taken into account.

For more see Huffington Post summary…..