The Psycho-Social Effects of Marriage Breakdown/ Divorce

The Psycho-Social Effects of Marriage Breakdown/ Divorce


When a family goes through separation or divorce, they undergo mental trauma and abrupt change in their social lives. The man or the woman may sink into depression, stress, low self-esteem or lack of self-drive to improve one’s standard of living. This study will try to analyze the many phases that one goes through as a divorcee while also discussing the advantages that may come in other circumstances.

In every marriage, there is always division of labor that works for both parties. In the traditional knitted relationships, the woman is responsible for taking care of the children and the house while the man ensures that they do not lack by getting a job and providing. In the modern setting, with many women getting jobs, the men have had to share the responsibility of taking care of the children and the house chores. The different contexts have different effects on a partner. More often than not, women usually get much of self-identification as spouses or parents. Therefore, a divorce is a stressful part of their lives that can force them to lose focus that affects their emotional wellbeing.

New studies have shown that not all divorce acts end with negative consequences. The outcome of one’s future depends on how a partner can cope without the other. Accepting what has happened and having a positive outlook on life changes the landscape on how personal growth manifests. According to Currie, many researchers have always been looking at psychological factors that can lead to poor outcomes while forgetting the many people that get better after a divorce, (Currie, 2010).

The women who were on low-quality marriages showed to have more life and vigor to pursue their ambitions after the divorce. However, for the women who were happy in their marriages and lived high-quality lives reported despair and lack of desire to pick themselves up. Since a divorce involves physical and verbal abuse, a partner may feel a sigh of relief getting out. Turning a new leaf in every aspect of life will encourage them to have the required zeal to change their situations.

The negative effects of divorce

            In divorce, the relationship between a parent and a child gets distorted. The daily interaction of the kids to their father or their mother starts becoming distant. In the case where the mother gets custody of the children, she will now have to play the role of the absentee father while also being the mother that she was. With this change, she has to be physically, socially mentally and financially ready. Many other unforeseen challenges always tend to crop up as time goes by. The children might decide to take sides on who is to blame for the changes. According to who they believe, they may choose to show disrespect and become unruly. For older children, they tend to have less language stimulation when self-expressing. In most scenarios, the pride, affection, and encouragement of social maturity that they possessed before is always replaced by exhaustion, worry, and stress. The parents, on the other hand, may result in overprotective measures while being strict and angry when bringing them up.

Divorce is responsible for mistrust between the children and their parents. When one partner leaves the family structure, it takes a long time before the trust rebuilts because of the distance created.  One child may be open to one parent while being distant to another.

Many children of divorce leave their birth homes early after divorce. This is because of low family cohesion and harmony. It may be to go study or to look for a job. In cases where the children are younger than the adult age, they are vulnerable to social vices like getting into gangs or prostitution. According to the National survey of children’s health, the children who live with their biological parents score high on the scale of positive parental relationship.

In a case of an absentee father, the mother tends to punish the child more harshly especially on the first year after divorce. In a way, they are always blaming the children for the predicaments happening in their lives. Divorced mothers tend to express tough love to their sons for up to six years. In school, discipline problems may arise. The shame of explaining what is happening at home may get the child to cower from other children while affecting his self-esteem.

On the father-child relationship, divorce creates a boundary between the normal interactions. The fathers are considered less nurturing, and they may miss the growth and development stages of his child. A legal decision, for example, may force a father not to spend quality time as he would. Research shows that a child cannot grasp the intricacies of a relationship and therefore he cannot wrap his head around an absentee dad. The thought of not being loved enough may engulf a child’s mind and may lead to early mental complications like high blood pressure, stress and also diabetes, (Parish, 2010)

In the case whereby the father and the mother both have custody of the child, the time frame of visiting both parents cannot be even. Many children spend more nights with the mother and not the father. Studies show that one in every five divorced fathers hadn’t seen their children in the past year. As for adolescent children, the time spent with their fathers grows even lower. For the fathers that have new partners, the time becomes more limited. As the child grows, and can cater for themselves, the time that they see each other reduces because the father gets to build another family and gets emotionally absorbed to the younger children he has. Finding time to connect with their grown-up children becomes a procrastinated attempt that never comes true.

The new family will also try to refrain from awkward situations with older kids. A scheduled meet-up may seem to be disloyal to the new family. To prevent confrontations and anger amongst families, some fathers prefer to reduce the interaction. Emotionally, the sons need their father just as much as the daughters need their mothers. Just knowing that they have someone to look up to encourages them to stand up on their feet as they go through life and its challenges. The children seem to accept an absentee mother more than they can allow an absentee father.

This is in a case where the parent tries to get back to their children after a long period of not seeing each other. As they grow up and start their lives independently, the children get to overcome their feelings and are less angry or deprived of the connection that they once needed. Boys who live with their mothers grow with a lot of hostility than girls. They cannot understand why their dad left their mom. The anger stays with them for a lot of years. As for the girls, they always fare worse when being brought by their dads.

The sibling relationship between children is also an issue of concern. They never get along when there are no parents to guide. Sibling rivalries and disrespect can grow to adulthood. As for the grandparents and grandchild relationship, the children always get mixed up. The grandparents also do not get enough time to interact with them. In the case of divorce, the children never get to meet up again. The unconditional love that they should get is lost. The mentoring role that they were to play to the lives of the children never gets delivered. The common holiday ceremonies now become rarely planned. The broken partners feel the shame of appearing at events all alone.

Positive effects of divorce

Studies have always researched extensively on the adverse impact of separation to the expense of the positive. Parents have always been insisted upon not to get a divorce because the life after a divorce is perceived to be of gloom and doom. This generalization has made many parents stick into toxic relationships that drown them into stress and depression.

One of the advantages is that divorce creates a healthy household. Whenever partners argue, the children can sense the hatred and the tension that builds up in the room. The fear of being lonely on the first few months shouldn’t deter an individual from a pursuit of a better life. When the parents are happy, the children also become happy, and the joy is shared around the family even when there are problems. The joy and happiness always grow with time and the members of the house can once again be happy.

Secondly, a happy parent creates a positive influence on children. As children become older, they exercise curiosity without fear of their parents scolding them. They get to understand that happiness is the most paramount purpose in life. A mother in an abusive relationship should get a divorce to show the children that they should fight to have peace of mind and self-respect.

Thirdly, health is the greatest wealth. A partner should get a divorce to improve their physical health. In any toxic relationship, the health of both partners is always on the risk of lifestyle diseases like cancer, heart diseases, diabetes, premature aging and also death. When the mind is not relaxed, and at peace with the partner, the body may fall sick occasionally.

It creates an opportunity for self-awareness. Being alone helps one to meditate and find the correct ways of handling personal issues. When two people aren’t meant to be together, they may hate the other person’s guts. A moment of reflection to understand one’s personality can be brought about by divorce.

When a partner can go through the hurdle of divorce in the first few years, they regain their confidence and know that they can do even more by themselves. When the negative influence is eliminated, the desire to pursue greatness is cultivated. Being happy and free is all that a partner is searching for. (Tanner, 2003)


According to the Insabella, when a comparison is made between partners who remained together for ten years and the other who divorced, the divorced showed lower life satisfaction.

In summary, the level of life satisfaction after a divorce was directly related to the quality of the marriage experienced before. The women who were in poor unions reported high quality lives afterward while the women who were in perceived high-quality life ended up in unsatisfying lifestyle. (Insabella, 2003)

Since these poor marriages involve verbal and physical abuse towards the partner, a new setup works to alleviate the life of the oppressed. Mostly women get to rise above the dependency and gain so much self-assertion and confidence.




Levin, K., Currie, C., (2010) Family structure, Mother-child communication, Father-child communication and Adolescent life satisfaction: A cross sectional multilevel analysis, Health Education 110, pp 158

Parish, T. (2010): Evaluation of Family by youth: Do they vary as a function of family structure, gender and birth order? Pp 354

Tamra, Y., Insabella, G., Little, T.(2003): Adult Children And Their Fathers: Relationship Changes Twenty Years After Parental Divorce. Family relations, 340

Tanner, J., Ahrons, C.,(2003): Adult Children And Their Fathers: Relationship Changes Twenty Years After Parental Divorce. Pp 210