Study Shows College-Aged Children Unharmed by Parents’ Divorce

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Divorce can be extremely painful, but it can also be a god-send to those who are incredibly unhappy in their marriage: after a divorce, the couple can go on to lead happier, separate lives. But what about their children?

Often, one of the principal concerns of a divorcing couple is the effect of the divorce on the children. Parents may feel worried that their children will be irreparably harmed by the separation of their parents or the upheaval in their lives that frequently accompanies divorce. However, divorcing parents of children may feel some relief in knowing that their decision to divorce may not have the tremendous, negative effect on their children that is often feared.

A recent English study by the University of Warwick looking specifically at college students found that “university students whose parents have recently divorced are unscathed by the experience.” The University researchers evaluated the happiness and productivity of 270 students. Little difference was found between students whose parents recently divorced and other students. In fact, productivity increased for some male students.  This does not mean that younger children will or will not be harmed, it just reflects the results of a study aimed at college students.

Researcher Dr. Eugenio Proto said of the study, “University students are much more resilient than has been presumed. Although parents do worry about divorcing around the years that their children go to university, our tests suggest those children turn out to be just as happy as other students.”

While every situation is different, this study should offer some comfort to parents of college-age children thinking about divorce. If you are getting a divorce and have children, it is important to talk to your children about your decision and help them cope, no matter their age. For some tips on talking with your children about divorce, visit our blog post on “How to tell the children you are getting a divorce”.