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Children's Well-Being during Parents' Marital Disruption Process: A Pooled Time-Series Analysis

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Abstract

On the basis of a large, nationally representative multiwave panel, this research examines the extent to which parents' marital disruption process affects children's academic performance and psychological well-being at 2time points prior to and 2 time points after parental divorce. The results of a pooled time-series analysis show that compared with peers in intact families, children of divorce fare less well in most well-being measures at all 4 time points, from approximately 3 years before divorce to 3 years after divorce. Interestingly, whereas the effects of the disruption process on students' test scores demonstrate a linear decline over time, the effects on their social-psychological measures exhibit a U-shaped time pattern. Families in the process of marital disruption are also characterized by a deficit in economic and social resources at various time points of this process. These differences in family resources either partially or completely mediate the detrimental effects of the disruption process over time. Furthermore, the process of marital disruption appears to affect girls to the same extent that it does boys. Finally, the causal role of divorce in affecting children is also discussed.

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