The Impact of Divorce on Young Adults

Updated on May 23, 2019
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Patrick has been working as a freelance writer on fiverr for the past 2 years.

Divorce Affects Young Adults


The Impacts of Divorce

In general, the institution of marriage has been viewed as one that provides economic, social as well as emotional stability. On the other hand, instability within this institution has been shown to have a negative impact on the surrounding Microsystems. According to the Bureau of the Census of the United States (2009), divorce has been found to affect between 40 and 50 percent of the current marriages across the United States with more than a million of the young children and teenagers experiencing parental divorce annually. On the other hand, according to a good number of studies, parental divorce has been found to affect individuals throughout their lives regardless of their ages. Here, will discuss the impacts on parental divorce on young adults and its impacts on their engagement in the learning environment. This will show that apart from affecting their education, divorce tends to affect various areas of the life of a young adult including how they interact and socialize with others.

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Impacts on Young Adults

Generally, young adults are individuals between the ages of 20 and 39. Although they are no longer children or adolescents, they are still learning about adulthood, and therefore likely to be affected by parental divorce. According to several studies, such as the one that was carried out by Ross and Miller in 2009, divorce can negatively affect an individual for the rest of his or her life regardless of their age. This goes to show that young adults are more likely to be affected given that they are just about to enter serious relationships leading to marriage.

Some of the most common impacts of divorce on young adults include an impact on their psychological adjustments, appropriate social abilities, academic achievements, and even behaviors- effects that can persist in the course of adulthood.

According to another study (Knox, Zusman & Decuzzi (2004)), four million of 16 million college students in America have parents that are either divorced or separated. According to the findings, increased levels of anxiety were noted among college students from divorced households than from those who came from intact households. For emerging adults whose parents divorced while they were in college, the study found them to experience various difficulties academically, struggles with occupational achievement, antisocial issues, anxiety, aggression as well as problems with intimate relationships.

A young adult in college, or about to leave college will either have developed a serious relationship or about to get into one with his or her partner. Although they are likely to be influenced by the way they interact or get along with their partner, they also look to their parents for guidance and in the event that their parents are still together, this inspires them to enter into a relationship that will work for the long term. However, divorced parents are likely to cause them to have doubts about marriage or any significance of the same. On the other hand, parental divorce is more likely to exert pressure on the individual, causing stress, depression and even affecting their ability to appropriately associate and interact with others socially. Given that they are still learning from their environment, the divorce may teach them that a marriage does not work; exerting stress on any relationship they may have with others.

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More Findings

In another study by Kasen Cohen in 2003 parental divorce was found to affect the self-esteem of emerging adults or young adults. Self-esteem issues can affect various areas of one’s life, affecting their abilities to socialize, academic performance, and even affect their life goals and objectives.

In addition, a good number of young adults who have entered marriages are dissolving their marriage without putting in more effort to work things out, which may be attributed to the fact that their parents also chose to divorce. According to these studies, it becomes evident that parental divorce has a significant impact on young adults given that they rely on their parents to act as models for how relationships should be handled and how problems in marriages should be dealt with. Divorce among the parents can also be said to be the cause of the young adults having more rates of divorce and multiple sexual partners given that that is what they learned from their parents who were unable to remain married. Without the ability to cope with the changes that result from parental divorce, the young adults are likely to start abusing drugs and other substances as a coping mechanism, which would not only affect their academics, goals and achievements, but also push them to other habits that may be criminal in nature including being aggressive, abusing their partners and even stealing to get money to support their various habits.

Final Words

In conclusion, it is safe to argue that for young adults, just like younger teenagers, parental divorce can have severe effects particularly due to the fact that the individual has lived and gotten used to living with both parents for a long time. The separation can cause them to look at life in a different way given that it changes their perception of how things should be and how various matters such as marriage conflicts should be handled. It is therefore also safe to state that the rate of divorce will continue to increase among young adults since that is what they experience with their parents. This is not only because of lacking understanding of how to resolve marriage issues, but also due to the fact that parental divorce brings about changes that psychologically affects these group, and subsequently affects their ability to interact and form healthy relationships with others.

Further reading

Stephanie Holt a, Helen Buckley b, Sadhbh Whelan. (2008). The impact of exposure to domestic violence on children and young people: A review of the literature

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

    © 2016 Patrick

    What's Your Thoughts on Divorce? How Should it be Approached?

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      • Patrick Patrick profile imageAUTHOR


        15 months ago from Nairobi

        Thank you singaporedivorcelawyer. I will visit the page to learn more. Thanks again.

      • Patrick Patrick profile imageAUTHOR


        20 months ago from Nairobi

        It is true Kirti dv. When I was younger I had a few friends from such homes and it was evidence that the constant fights and arguments at home really affected them. Very low self esteem or very aggressive at times.

      • profile image


        20 months ago

        I agree with your patrick. Even if parents arguments don't lead to divorce, the constant arguments can high affect young children and young adults. Their confidence level and ability to interact with people outside of the house changes over time.

      • Patrick Patrick profile imageAUTHOR


        2 years ago from Nairobi

        Thanks Marcia. Will be sure to check the link..

      • profile image


        2 years ago

        Divorce always have a great impact on children. During the divorce time, they get disturbed. I have seen a child suffering because of his parent's divorce. However the divorce went smoothly by the assistance of the lawyer Bechara Tarabay. I gathered details about the lawyer from We need to look for a good lawyer so that this eases our divorce tension.


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