Developmental Psychology 2000;
Are associations between parental divorce and children’s adjustment
O’Connor, T.G., Caspi, A., DeFries, J.C., & Plomin, R.P.
The hypothesis that the association between parental divorce and children’s
adjustment was mediated partly by genetic factors was examined. Children
in biological families who experienced their parents’ divorce or separation
by age 12 years exhibited higher rates of behavioral/emotional problems
and substance use, and lower levels of achievement and social adjustment
difficulties compared with children whose parents’ marriage remained
intact. For adopted children, this finding was replicated for behavioral/emotional
problems and substance abuse but not for achievement and social adjustment,
suggesting an environmentally mediated explanation for the association between
parent divorce and children’s adjustment but a partly genetically
mediated explanation for the achievement and social development outcomes.