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Will Adult Children of Divorce Stay Mad Forever?

Many studies have been conducted by family therapists, researchers, and child psychology experts regarding the effects of divorce on children. Yet, few have studied the long-term effects of divorce on adult children. One study, conducted by the Economic and Social Research Council of United Kingdom, analyzed the lasting effects of divorce by studying the correlation between divorce and children's care for their elderly parents.

Researchers at the Council found that in the United States and many other countries, such as Italy, adult children of divorced parents were less likely to provide their parents with help later in life than were children of parents who never got divorced. These results were compared to adult children in the United Kingdom, where researchers found no disparity in the level of later-in-life care provided by children to parents, regardless of the parents' marital status. The study went on to reveal that adult children in the United Kingdom are actually MORE likely to help out an elderly parent if the parent is without a partner, whether through a death or divorce.

This research may indicate that children in the United Kingdom tend to help their parents according to their parents' individual needs, including finances, health, and emotional support. In contrast, adult children in the United States, who provided less care to divorced rather than married parents, probably based their decisions on their parents' past behavior, including their behavior during divorce.

So, does this research mean that children in the United States tend to develop anger toward their parents and hold on to that anger long-term? Perhaps. It is certainly possible that some adult children deny their aging parents care and support in order to "get back" at them for divorcing. At the very least, such a correlation provides divorcing parents with good reason to provide their children with a consistent, loving environment. If the researchers in this study are correct, divorce has had some adverse long time affects on the relationship between parents and children in the US.

Feinberg & Waller
A Professional Corportation

William A. Feinberg 1928-2001

The information in this document is not intended to serve as legal advice. You should consult qualified legal counsel before acting on any information contained herein. The information contained herein, including case examples, does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.

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