Divorce's Affects Children's GPA


The first article that I will review to assist my research is by Mulholland, Watt, and Philpott. This article analyzes whether or not divorce will have an effect on the academic achievement of the children of divorce. It does so by analyzing scholastic data collected from over 96 middle-school students from a school district in Denver, Colorado. The article is based around a basic theory which is that children from divorced families would have lower grades (G.P.A.) than those from intact families. The results reported indicated that the children of divorce did indeed have lower overall G.P.A.s than those from intact families which therefore concludes that divorce does in fact have an effect on children’s education and that it is not a positive one. Although the grades were significantly lower most other areas were fairly equal as Mulholland, Watt, and Philpott (1991) stated “Corresponding patterns of scholastic aptitude scores, absence from school and comportment revealed no systematic differences over time”.

This article as a whole was very strong and both presented a theory and proved it to be fact by showing that divorce does indeed affect the children of the involved family and it does so in a negative way showing decreases in their G.P.A.s. The article was sufficient in studying middle school kids mostly because at that age they are neither too young to understand the concept of divorce or old enough to have gotten past the issue. The study was also thorough in doing its research in one selected area, even though some could believe that the research was isolated, I believe that the smaller area led to more sufficient information and reliable facts. There were however some limitations as the article did not really go into much explanation as to why the divorce effected the children’s education as it did and simply stated that it did. In further readings I hope to discover more information and why it affects the children as well as how.

The next article is by Potter. This study focuses on the psychosocial well being of the child after the traumatic event of divorce as well as tries to explain reasons for the effect on the children and the children’s grades. Some of the reasoning given for the change in behavior include changes to the family income and finances, unstable parenting, raises in conflict between the parents and deterioration of the parent-child relationship. All of these are said to have stemmed from the divorce itself. With this the article also presents a similar theory to the previous article which states that the children of divorce will in fact have hard times academically. Potter (2010) uses the Early Childhood Longitude Study to prove this and states “I examined the role of psychosocial well-being in the relationship between divorce and children's outcomes. The results suggest that divorce is associated with diminished psychosocial well-being in children and that this decrease helps explain the connection between divorce and lower academic achievement”. This statement both shows the negative effect that divorce can have on children’s education and gives a brief example of why this is so.

Overall this article was very insightful and both explained why and how divorce effects children’s academic achievement. I think that it successfully presented a theory and proved it to be correct in stating that divorce would negatively affect the children and their performance academically as well as going the further step and explaining why through a study of post divorce psychosocial behaviors. Although it did give a very reasonable explanation to why this occurs it was very limited and focused a lot on the psychosocial element of the children and did not present many hard fact such as actually grades as evidence. With that said this article was very helpful and did provide sufficient information and assisted the task of proving the negative effects of divorce on children’s education.

The third article I used in my research is by Sun and Li. This article not only focuses on the relationship between divorce and academic performance in children but also focuses on the sibship size(number of children)of the families and how that too can effect children’s academic performance post divorce. The article presents two hypotheses which are that divorce will affect children academically and that as the number of children in the household grows the affect will become worse and worse. The author collected data from almost 20,000 students from the National Educational Longitudinal Study and came to the conclusion that due to lower G.P.A.s that divorce does affect children’s education negatively and that when the number of children in a divorced family was larger that those children did in fact do even worse. Sun and Li(2009) came to this conclusion by stating that a single parent with numerous children has “varied financial, human, cultural, and social resources”, these strains can lead to less opportunities for the children to succeed.

This article was very helpful in my research as it gave explanations as to why children of divorce can struggle and how the number of children involved can have a large effect on their achievement. The author successfully presented numerous theories and through research was able to prove them as fact. I found it very interesting that a one parent home with numerous children could face so many strains whether it be financially or culturally especially coming from a one parent household with numerous children myself. The one thing it could have done better was perhaps go into even further research as it was so interesting and could possibly lead to some form of resolutions to these academic struggles by locating the source and assisting change.

The next article that assisted my research is by Ham. This article focuses on the affects that divorce and remarriage can have on a high school student’s grades and attendance as compared to those of intact families. The author presents two hypotheses which are that divorce will negatively affect the G.P.A.s and attendance of the high school students and that remarriage will have the same affect. Using high school seniors from a middle class school the author discovered that divorce negatively affected the grades of the students as both their G.P.A.s and attendance were significantly lower than those from intact families. However after analyzing data from both students from remarried families and from intact families there was not much of a difference found in either G.P.A.s or attendance. Ham (2004) than went on to discover that “females were more negatively impacted by family structures resulting from divorce and remarriage than were males”. Although this was not explained in full it is likely to be due to the fact that females tend to be more emotionally attached than males.

I believe that this article more than any of the others was most helpful and did a very good job of both providing a hypothesis and proving it to be fact through excellent research and explanations. The most interesting aspect of this article was the fact that there was a large difference in academic achievement between divorced families and intact families but no difference in intact families and remarried families. I also found it very interesting that females were more susceptible to being academically affected than males. Although I found this interesting I also thought that this was the one weak point of the article as it did not go into detail or give an explanation as to why this is, which I thought would have made the article that much better.

The final article that I used in my research was by Cherian. This article is a comparative study that took over one thousand students from a city in South Africa and studied the academic achievement differences between the students from either divorced or separated families and those of intact families. According to Cherian (1989) “The Subjects were In the Age Range of 13 to 17 Yr., With a Mean Age of 15.6 Yr. And They were Chosen at Random”. The study began by giving each student a survey to assist in determining which students came from divorced families and those who did not. After the survey was completed it was discovered that 242 of the students came from divorced families and the rest from intact ones. Following the separation of the groups came the analyzing of the academic achievement or G.P.A.s. The author had proposed that the children from families of divorce would have lower G.P.A.s than those that were from intact families and after separating groups and going through records it was found that his hypothesis as correct and the South African students from divorced families did indeed have lower G.P.A.s.

Although it did present some sort of hypothesis it wasn’t a very clear one and it did not provide much information. It did state that children of divorce did have lower levels of academic achievement but it did not mention why, it simply took a survey and looked over grades which was to me not much of a study at all. I believe that the article was weak and gave me limited information on the topic at hand, but with all that said it is a very dated article so perhaps for the time it was published it was helpful.

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