Effects  of Divorce on Women and Children

Download Article

DOI: 10.21522/TIJPH.2013.09.01.Art001

Authors : Odis Adaora Isabella


Divorce is a legal separation of husband and wife, leaving each other free to remarry. It is also to break off a marriage legally. Marriage is a state of being legally joined as husband and wife. A family's social support is one of the major ways that family positively impacts health. Marriage is associated with physical health, psychological well-being, and low mortality. Marriage in particular has been studied in the way it affects health. Marriage is thought to protect well-being by providing companionship, emotional support, and economic security. It was also revealed that divorce has psychological and emotional effects on women. This article review discovered that divorced women and children experience more social isolation, which makes them end up producing greater feelings of loneliness, unhappiness, and lower self-esteem. Some psychological and emotional effects of divorce on women which include factors like; low appetite, reduced physical energy and strength, chest pain, severe pressure in chest difficulty in hearing, eye pain, digestive problem, lower abdomen pain, back pain headache, sleeping disturbance, worthless, suicidal attempt, decreased level of confidence, shocked, feeling of shame, feeling of sorrow in her heart, worried, anxious, irritated towards her life, suppressed problem, feeling bad, upset, feeling of miserable life, among other things as the major emotional and psychological effects of divorce on women.


[1] Gilliland M. K., (2018). Family and marriage, https://courses.lumenlearning.com/suny-esc-culturalanthropology/chapter/family_and_marriage/.

[2] Bruner Kurt, 2017, The purpose of the family, https://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/the-purpose-of-the-family/.

[3] Effect of divorce on the academic performance of students in some selected secondary schools in Oredo local government area of Edo state https://www.grossarchive.com/upload/1416644906.htm.

[4] http://www.uniteforsight.org/gender-power/module1.

[5] George, L. K., & Durham, N. C. (2016). The health-promoting effects of social bonds.

[6] Ross, C., Mirowsky, J., and Goldsteen, K. “The Impact of the Family on Health: The Decade in Review.” Journal of Marriage and the Family. 52. (1990):1059-1078.

[7] George, L. K., & Durham, N. C. (2016). The health-promoting effects of social bonds.

[8] Ross, C., Mirowsky, J., and Goldsteen, K. “The Impact of the Family on Health: The Decade in Review.” Journal of Marriage and the Family. 52. (1990):1059-1078.

[9] Huliyappa, Deepadarshan and Hiremath, Shweta, “Lifestyle factors and lifestyle diseases among rural population of Bengaluru rural district”, International Journal of Community Medicine and Public Health (2017) Volume 4 (5):1558. 10.18203/2394-6040.ijcmph20171763.

[10] Broadhead, W., Kaplan, B., James, S., et. al. “The Epidemiologic Evidence for a Relationship Between Social Support and Health.” American Journal of Epidemiology. 117.5 (1983).

[11] Seeman, T. (1996) “Social ties and health: The benefits of social integration.” Annals of Epidemiology. 6.5.

[12] Yang, Y. C., Boen, C., Gerken, K., Li, T., Schorpp, K., & Harris, K. M. (2016). Social relationships and physiological determinants of longevity across the human life span. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(3), 578–583. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1511085112.

[13] George, L. K., & Durham, N. C. (2016). The health-promoting effects of social bonds.

[14] Ross, C., Mirowsky, J., and Goldsteen, K. “The Impact of the Family on Health: The Decade in Review.” Journal of Marriage and the Family. 52. (1990):1059-1078.

[15] George, L. K., & Durham, N. C. (2016). The health-promoting effects of social bonds.

[16] Regmi, K., Smart, R., & Kottler, J. “Understanding Gender and Power Dynamics Within the Family: A Qualitative Study of Nepali Women’s Experience.” The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy. 31.2 (2010).

[17] Department for International Development. (1 Jan. 2005) “REACH: Challenging Barriers to Health Care.” https://www.gov.uk/dfid-research-outputs/reach-challenging-barriers-to-health-care-in-malawi.

[18] Synovitz, R. (3 Mar. 2004) Afghanistan: Gender Taboos Keep Women from Seeking Medical Care.” Radio Free Europe. https://www.rferl.org/a/1051746.html.

[19] IbnSina and ICRH. (Oct. 2002) “KAP Survey regarding reproductive health.” http://icrhm.org/sites/default/files/KAPsurveyKabulICRHIbnSina.pdf.

[20] Ay, P., Hayran, O., Topuzoglu, A., et. al. “The influence of gender roles on health seeking behaviour during pregnancy in Turkey.” The European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care. 14.4 (2009).

[21] George, L. K., & Durham, N. C. (2016). The health-promoting effects of social bonds.

[22] Repetti, R., Taylor, S., and Seeman, T. “Risky Families: Family Social Environments and the Mental and Physical Health of Offspring.” Psychological Bulletin. 128.2 (2002): 330-366.

[23] Nachinaab J. (2014). “Psychological and emotional effects of divorce on women”. (DOC) PSYCHOLOGICAL AND EMOTIONAL EFFECTS OF DIVORCE ON WOMEN | john onzaberigu nachinaab - Academia.edu.

[24] Wolcott and Hughes, (1999), “Towards understanding the reasons for divorce” (Working Paper No. 20). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies. https://aifs.gov.au/publications/towards-understanding-reasons-divorce.

[25] Giles C. (2018). “The Effects of Divorce on Women; Our everyday life: Relationships and family” https://oureverydaylife.com/the-effects-of-divorce-on-women-5050311.html.

[26] Kristof, N. & WuDunn, S. “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.” (New York: Random House, 2009).

[27] Lyn, T. (12 Aug. 2009) “Trafficked women face high HIV infection risk.” Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/idINIndia-41716620090812.

[28] Chattoraj, B. “Sex related offences and their prevention and control measures: an Indian perspective.” https://www.unafei.or.jp/publications/pdf/RS_No72/No72_13VE_Chattoraj.pdf.

[29] United Nations, 2008, “An Introduction to Human Trafficking: Vulnerability, Impact and Action” https://www.unodc.org/documents/human-trafficking/An_Introduction_to_Human_Trafficking_-_Background_Paper.pdf.

[30] Kempadoo, K. “Trafficking and Prostitution Reconsidered: New Perspectives on Migration, Sex Work, and Human Rights.” Canadian Journal of Sociology Online. (2007).

[31] Demo, D.H. & Acock, A.C. (1988). The Impact of Divorce on Children. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 50, 619-648.

[32] Tennant C., 2002. Life events, stress and depression: A review of recent finding. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 36, 173 – 182.

[33] Maciejewski PK, Prigerson HG, Mazure CM. Sex differences in event-related risk for major depression. Psychol Med 31: 593-604.

[34] Brickman, P., Rabinowitz, V. C., Karuza, J., Jr., Coates, D., Cohn, E., & Kidder, L. (1982). Models of helping and coping. American Psychologist, 37, 368-384.

[35] ChildStats.gov. 2013. America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2013: Emotional and Behavioral Difficulties (2013) http://www.childstats.gov/americaschildren/health3.asp.

[36] Schoenborn C.A.2004. Marital status and health: United States, 1999–2002. In Advance data from Vital and Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, No. 351. [PubMed] [Google Scholar].

[37] Kposowa A.J.2000. Marital status and suicide in the National Longitudinal Mortality Study. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 54: 254–61. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar].

[38] Pienta A.M.2000. Health consequences of marriage for the retirement years. Journal of Family Issues 21: 559–86. [Google Scholar].

[39] Goodwin J.S., Hunt W.C., Key C.R., and Sarmet J.M. 1987. The effect of marital status on stage, treatment, and survival of cancer patients. Journal of the American Medical Association 258: 3125–30. [PubMed] [Google Scholar].

[40] Marriage and Men's Health. 2010. Harvard Men's Health Watch (2010) Harvard Health Publications.http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mens_Health_Watch/2010/July/marriage-and-mens-health.

[41] Stratton L.S.2002. Examining the wage differential for married and cohabiting men. Economic Inquiry 40: 199–212. [Google Scholar].

[42] Keyes C.L.M.2002. Social civility in the United States. Sociological Inquiry 72: 393–408 As cited in The Family in America New Research, November 2002. [Google Scholar].

[43] Wallerstein J.S., and Blakeslee S. 2004. Second chances: Men, women, and children a decade after divorce. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. [Google Scholar].

[44] Mooney A., Oliver C., and Smith M. 2009. Impact of family breakdown on children's wellbeing evidence review DCSF-RR113. London: University of London, Institute of Education, Thomas Coram Research Unit. [Google Scholar].

[45] Amato P.R., and Booth A. 1997. A generation at risk: Growing up in an era of family upheaval. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. [Google Scholar].

[46] Amato P.R., and Keith B. 1991. Parental divorce and the well-being of children: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin 110: 26–46. [PubMed] [Google Scholar].

[47] Anderson J. (2014). The impact of family structure on the health of children: Effects of divorce. The Linacre quarterly, 81(4), 378–387. https://doi.org/10.1179/0024363914Z.00000000087.

[48] Edwards A.N. 2014 Dynamics of Economic Well-being: Poverty, 2009–2001: Household Economic Studies (2014) United States Census Bureau Web Site. http://www.census.gov/prod/2014pubs/p70-137.pdf.

[49] US Census Bureau. 2011. Divorce Rates Highest in the South, Lowest in the Northeast, Census Bureau Reports United States Census Bureau Web Site. http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/marital_status_living_arrangements/cb11-144.html.

[50] Chetty R., Hendren N., Kline P., and Saez E. 2014 The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States (2014) Harvard University. http://obs.rc.fas.harvard.edu/chetty/mobility_geo.pdf .

[51] Amato P.R., and Afifi T.D. 2006. Feeling caught between parents: Adult children's relations with parents and subjective well-being. Journal of Marriage and Family 68(1): 231. [Google Scholar].

[52] Miller J.E., and Davis D. 1997. Poverty history, marital history and quality of children's home environments. Journal of Marriage and Family 59: 996–1007. [Google Scholar]

[53] Popenoe D.1996. Life without father. New York, NY: The Free Press; As quoted by Fagan, P.F., and A. Churchill. The effects of divorce on children. Marri Research January 11, 2012: 6. [Google Scholar].

[54] Fagan P.F., and Churchill A. The effects of divorce on children. Marri Research. January 11, 2012. [Google Scholar].

[55] Dunlop R., Burns A., and Bermingham S. 2001. Parent-child relations and adolescent self-image following divorce: A ten-year study. Journal of Youth and Adolescence 30: 117–34. [Google Scholar].

[56] King V.2002. Parental divorce and interpersonal trust in adult offspring. Journal of Marriage Family 64(3): 642–56. [Google Scholar].

[57] Kruk E., and Hall B.L. 1995. The disengagement of paternal grandparents subsequent to divorce. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 23: 131–47. [Google Scholar].

[58] Pett M.A., Lang N., and Gander A. 1992. Late-life divorce: Its impact on family rituals. Journal of Family Issues 13: 526–52. [Google Scholar].

[59] Billingham R.E., and Notebaert N.L. 1993. Divorce and dating violence revisited: Multivariate analyses using Straus's conflict tactics subscores. Psychological Reports 73: 679–84. [PubMed] [Google Scholar].

[60] Amato P.R.2001. Children of divorce in the 1990s. An update of the Amato and Keith (1991) meta-analysis. Journal of Family Psychology 15: 355–75. [PubMed] [Google Scholar].

[61] Strohschein L.2005. Parental divorce and child mental health trajectories. Journal of Marriage and Family 67: 1286. [Google Scholar].

[62] Jeynes W.H.2001. The effects of recent parental divorce on their children's sexual attitudes and behavior. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 35: 125. [Google Scholar].

[63] Strohschein L.2005. Parental divorce and child mental health trajectories. Journal of Marriage and Family 67: 1286. [Google Scholar].

[64] Ellis B.J., Bates J.E., Dodge K.A., Fergusson D.M., Horwood L.J., Pettit G.S., and Woodward L. 2003. Does father absence place daughters at special risk for early sexual activity and teenage pregnancy? Child Dev 74: 810–1. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar].

[65] Jacquet S.E., and Surra C.A. 2001. Parental divorce and premarital couples: Commitment and other relationship characteristics. Journal of Marriage and Family 63: 627. [Google Scholar].

[66] Weigel D.J.2007. Parental divorce and the types of commitment-related messages people gain from their families of origin. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 47: 23. [Google Scholar].

[67] Myers S.M.1996. An interactive model of religiosity inheritance: The importance of family context. American Sociological Review 61: 864–5. [Google Scholar].

[68] Feigelman W., Gorman B.S., and Varacalli J.A. 1992. Americans who give up religion. Sociology and Social Research 76: 138–43 [Google Scholar].

[69] Rostosky S.S., Regnerus M.D., and Wright M.L.C. 2003. Coital debut: The role of religiosity and sex attitudes in the add health survey. Journal of Sex Research 40: 358–67. [PubMed] [Google Scholar].

[70] Jeynes W.H.2000. The effects of several of the most common family structures on the academic achievement of eighth graders. Marriage and Family Review 30: 88. [Google Scholar].

[71] Pong S.L., Dronkers J., and Hampden-Thompson G. 2003. Family policies and children's school achievement in single-versus two-parent families. Journal of Marriage and Family 65: 681–99. [Google Scholar].

[72] CDC/NCHS National Health Interview Survey. 2012. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web Site (2013). http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/sr10_258.pdf.

[73] Brown J., Cohen P., Johnson J.G., and Salzinger S. 1998. A longitudinal analysis of risk factors for child maltreatment: Findings of a 17-year prospective study of officially recorded and self-reported child abuse and neglect. Child Abuse Negl 22: 1065–78. [PubMed] [Google Scholar].

[74] Kelleher K.J., McInerny T.K., Gardner W.P., Childs G.E., and Wasserman R.C. 2000. Increasing identification of psychosocial problems: 1979–1996. Pediatrics 105: 1313–21. [PubMed] [Google Scholar].

[75] Bramlett M.D., and Radel L.F. 2014 Adverse Family Experiences Among Children in Nonparental Care, 2011–2012. National Center for Health Statistics, n. 74, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr074.pdf.