May 01, 1986
James L. Peterson,
Nicholas Zill

This study examines the effects of marital disruption on children’s behavior, accounting for variations in postdisruption living arrangements and the effects of parent-child relationships and marital conflict. The study is based on a 1981 national sample of 1,400 children aged 12-16. Disruption was associated with a higher incidence of several behavior problems, negative effects being greatest with multiple marital transitions. The negative effects are lower if the child lives with the same-sex parent following divorce or maintains a good relationship with one or both parents. High, persistent conflict in intact families is also related to behavior problems.

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James L. Peterson
Nicholas Zill