Here’s why par­ents’ divorce may im­pact chil­dren’s aca­demics

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Guide - - WORKSMART - Asian-News In­ter­na­tional

Par­ents’ divorce may im­pact chil­dren’s aca­demics neg­a­tively, sug­gests a new study. Ac­cord­ing to the study, parental divorce is as­so­ci­ated with a lower grade point av­er­age (GPA) among ado­les­cents, with a stronger as­so­ci­a­tion seen in teens with more ed­u­cated moth­ers. The study was pub­lished in the jour­nal PLOS ONE.

Chil­dren and ado­les­cents with di­vorced or sep­a­rated par­ents are known to do less well in school than ado­les­cents with non-di­vorced par­ents, and to be less well-ad­justed, on av­er­age, across a spec­trum of phys­i­cal and men­tal health out­comes.

In the new study, re­searchers used data from the youth@ hordaland study, a pop­u­la­tion­based sur­vey of ado­les­cents aged 16-19 con­ducted in the spring of 2012 in Hordaland County, Nor­way.

19,439 ado­les­cents were in­vited to par­tic­i­pate and 10,257 agreed; of those, 9,166 are in­cluded in the cur­rent study.

Over­all, ado­les­cents with di­vorced par­ents had a 0.3 point lower GPA (stan­dard er­ror 0.022, p<0.01) than their peers. Con­trol­ling for parental

IN THE NEW STUDY, RE­SEARCHERS USED DATA FROM THE YOUTH@HORDALAND STUDY, A POP­U­LA­TION-BASED SUR­VEY OF ADO­LES­CENTS AGED 16-19 CON­DUCTED IN THE SPRING OF 2012 IN HORDALAND COUNTY, NOR­WAY

ed­u­ca­tion re­duced the ef­fect by 0.06 points to 0.240 (SE 0.021, p<0.01).

This het­ero­gene­ity was pre­dom­i­nantly driven by ma­ter­nal ed­u­ca­tion lev­els, the re­searchers found.

After con­trol­ling for pa­ter­nal ed­u­ca­tion and in­come mea­sures, divorce was as­so­ci­ated with a 0.120 point de­crease in GPA among ado­les­cents whose moth­ers had a sec­ondary school ed­u­ca­tion level; a 0.175 point de­crease when moth­ers had a Bach­e­lor’s level ed­u­ca­tion; and a 0.209 point de­crease when moth­ers had a Mas­ter’s or PhD level ed­u­ca­tion (all es­ti­mates rel­a­tive to ado­les­cents with a mother who had a ba­sic level of ed­u­ca­tion, such as ISCED 0-2).

Due to the cross-sec­tional struc­ture of the study, re­searchers could not in­ves­ti­gate spe­cific changes be­tween pre and post-divorce fam­ily life, and fu­ture stud­ies are needed to in­ves­ti­gate po­ten­tial mech­a­nisms (such as re­duced parental mon­i­tor­ing or schoolin­volve­ment) which might drive this find­ing.

Nonethe­less, this study pro­vides new ev­i­dence that the neg­a­tive as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween divorce and teens’ GPA is es­pe­cially strong in fam­i­lies with more ed­u­cated moth­ers.

“Among Nor­we­gian ado­les­cents, parental divorce was hardly as­so­ci­ated with GPA among youth whose par­ents have low ed­u­ca­tional qual­i­fi­ca­tions. In con­trast, among ado­les­cents with ed­u­cated or highly ed­u­cated moth­ers, divorce was sig­nif­i­cantly as­so­ci­ated with lower GPA,” said the au­thors.

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