The Psychological Effects of Divorce

It is no secret that divorce is a stressful experience. While many are aware of the immediate financial and emotional effects that can come from the dissolution of a marriage, the long term psychological effects of divorce on both parents and children tend to be far less apparent. Though the effects of divorce will manifest themselves differently from person to person, some psychological symptoms and behaviors after divorce are more common than others.

The Stages of Grief After Divorce

As divorce signifies the loss of an important relationship that was once significant in a couple’s life, both men and women often endure a period of mourning following a divorce similar to how one would react to the death of a loved one, including stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. This can be particularly painful for persons who do not expect or want their marriage to end, especially if the loss is coupled with hostility and tension between spouses following their separation.

The result of these combined factors is often depression, lowered self-esteem, and a loss of a person’s sense of identity. In other cases, divorces spouses may feel rejected or embarrassed, prompting them to withdraw from their social groups or feel uncomfortable discussing their feelings even with their closest friends or family members. These can all contribute to an overall sense of isolation, especially if a person’s friends or family disapprove of the divorce.

Does Divorce Contribute to Depression?

In many cases, yes. According to a study led by researchers at the University of Arizona published in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, people with a history of depression who divorce exhibit an overall higher risk of experiencing future depressive episodes. Common forms of depressive disorders linked to divorce include major depression, dysthymic disorder, and more.

Signs of divorce-induced depression include:

  • Constant sadness or feelings of unhappiness
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Constant fatigue
  • Indecisiveness and difficulty focusing
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Disrupted sleeping patterns
  • Changes in appetite

How Does Divorce Affect Children?

The psychological effects of divorce on children have been debated throughout the scientific community for years. While previously published research has shown that children of divorce had a higher risk of depression, performing poorly in school, and getting in trouble with the law later in life, more recent data has shown that conflict between parents, rather than the act of divorce itself, is a much greater factor determining a child’s adjustment to life after their parents have split.

Children’s short- and long-term reactions to their parents’ divorce are believed to be greatly influenced by the following three factors:

  1. The quality of their relationship with each parent before divorce
  2. The level and length of conflict between parents
  3. The parents’ ability to focus on their children’s needs after their divorce

Fortunately, parents and children many of the negative effects of divorce can be mitigated or even avoided with healthy communication, counseling, and the assistance of experienced legal professionals. Seeking the assistance of a family law attorney can be particularly beneficial, as they can guide divorcing clients towards amicable solutions and help them identify and obtain the aid they need to facilitate their post-divorce health and wellness.

Top-Rated Divorce Advocacy in Broward County

If you and your spouse have chosen to part ways, it is crucial you retain the services of a knowledgeable attorney who can guide you towards the solutions you need to foster your and your family’s long-term wellbeing. At Pazos Law Group, our compassionate and skilled Broward County divorce lawyers can handle the legal heavy lifting on your behalf and ensure your best interests are protected, allowing you to push forward towards a new future with the least amount of stress possible.

To find out more about how our team of advocates can assist you, call (954) 719-5557 today.



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