Outcomes for Children of Divorced Parents

Research has revealed the following outcomes for children of divorced parents:

  • Children whose parents have divorced are increasingly the victims of abuse. They exhibit more health, behavioral, and emotional problems, are involved more frequently in crime and drug abuse, and have higher rates of suicide.
  • Children of divorced parents perform more poorly in reading, spelling, and math. They also are more likely to repeat a grade and to have higher drop-out rates and lower rates of college graduation.
  • Families with children that were not poor before the divorce see their income drop as much as 50 percent. Almost 50 percent of the parents with children that are going through a divorce move into poverty after the divorce.
  • Religious worship, which has been linked to better health, longer marriages, and better family life, drops after the parents divorce.


More than 30 years of research reveals that divorce seldom leads to a better life.

  • Life expectancies for divorced men/women are significantly lower than for married people.
  • A recent study found those who were unhappy but remained married were more likely to be happy five years later than those who divorced.
  • The health consequences of divorce are so severe that a Yale researcher concluded “being divorced and a non-smoker is [only] slightly less dangerous than smoking a pack a day and staying married.”
  • After a diagnosis of cancer, married people are most likely to recover, while the divorced are least likely to recover, indicating that the emotional trauma of divorce has a long-term impact on the physical health of the body.
  • Men and women both suffer a decline in mental health following divorce, but researchers have found that women are more greatly affected. Some of the mental health indicators affected by divorce include depression, hostility, self-acceptance, personal growth and positive relations with others.