Parental Divorce Impact on Children’s Academic Success

Introduction

Social academia always seeks to resolve the most pressing social issues. Due to the significant increase in divorce rates over the past centuries in the US, and its more socially accepted status (Kim & Kim, 2002), recent social studies have given it a considerable amount of attention (Bahr, 2002). According to the sociologist Paul Amato (2012), current types of unions are institutional (legally regulated relationships seeking for community and social events), companionate (affective relationship seeking for companionship and romantic love), and individualist (affective and therapeutic relationship seeking for an improvement in individual happiness and personal growth). Traditional, married, two-parent, heterosexual, two-child families have increasingly become less common, and divorces and separations, which are on a raise, affect the least companionate unions.

Types of unions changed, divorce and separations have risen, and, when children are involved, new family patterns, characterized by child-rearing without a partner and non-cohabiting conjoint child-rearing in the absence of marital relationships, have emerged. The incidence of these new child-related patterns is also increasing, and partly as a result of the formal and informal dissolution of marriage or other types of union (separation, divorce, and/or the abandonment of the family by one parent), the death of a parent, and the voluntary single parenthood/ motherhood. Socio-economic, demographic, family functioning, and individual factors all contribute to the emergence of these new patterns (Babalis, 2011, c.f. Babalis, 2013). For example, a Finish study inspecting marriages and informal cohabiting unions found that, in both cases, lower level of education, unemployment (particularly of male partner), and low income (particularly of male partner) increased dissolution rates (Jalovaara, 2013). This illustrates the impact of socio-economic factors, particularly on divorce/separation. As stated, new family structures are a possible consequence of such occurrences.

Studies have also investigated the effects of family structure on personal and social wellbeing of children (Amato, 2001; Babalis, 2011, c.f. Babalis, 2013). It has been testified that nearly 50% of all marriages end in divorce, leaving nearly one million children experiencing parental divorce (Amato, 2001). Children experiencing parental divorce have to go through many transformations in their lives, such as changes in residency, contact, affect, and behavioral interactions with their parents and other significant others. In brief, it is said that, experiencing parental divorce, “some children falter and others thrive” (Buchanan et al., 1996). That is, the effects of parental divorce on children have been argued to fail to show a particular uniform trend.

When focusing on the impact of children experiencing parental divorce on educational achievement (e.g., Cherlin et al., 1991; Kurdek et al., 1995; McLanahan, 1985; Raley et al., 2005; Sun & Li, 2001; Teachman et al., 1996), plenty of research has expressively shown that divorce negatively impacts children academic achievement (Amato & Keith, 1991; Amato, 2001; Jeynes, 2012). Yet, there are also a small number of studies that show the contrary. Jeynes’ (2012) literature review found a small number of studies that failed to show a significant negative association between divorce and academic achievement. Further, in a meta-analysis, Amato (2001) found that, after controlling for the quality of research methodology, children of divorce parents performed 0.17 standard deviations lower on measures of academic achievement than their peers from intact families. This is a rather small negative effect. Moreover, in a large longitudinal study, Sun (2001) found that divorce had significant negative long-term effects on children’s academic achievement. These studies support the hypothesis that, with few exceptions, parental divorce adversely affects children’s academic achievement.

There are also differences in long-term, against short-term effects of parental divorce on academic achievement. Most negative effects are detected via short-term studies. Yet, a few studies also investigate its possible long-term socio-economic effects (Liu, 2007). Having a poor education (short-term effect) seems to lead to weakening an individual’s resilience and to long-term socio-economic and health-related disadvantages. That is, the consequences of divorce on educational attainment may be of special importance (Ross & Wu, 1995; Shavit & Müller, 1998), and bear future negative consequences.

Finally, in the literature there are studies that have moved forwards from only testing the consequences of parental divorce as identical and homogeneous for all children (Furstenberg & Kiernan, 2001). Instead, many scholars argue that the effect of divorce on children’s educational progress may vary significantly according to children’s gender (e.g., Morrison & Cherlin, 1995; Zaslow, 1988), age (e.g., Allison & Furstenberg, 1989), race and ethnicity (e.g., Sun & Li, 2007), and the number of post-divorce family transitions (Kurdek et al., 1995; Sun & Li, 2008). That is, variations found in the type of effects of parental divorce may be associated with the children’s psychosocial characteristics.

The purpose of this article is precisely to better understand the effects of parental divorce, of critical research importance due to its high rates, and in particularly on the academic success of children in these circumstances. This was achieved through a systematic literature review and a critical comparative criterion-based analysis of the impact of parental divorce on children’s academic performance.

Methodology

Research Design

A systematic review method was chosen for investigating evidence-based studies on the effects of divorce on the academic success of children. The aim was describing the highest quality papers that answer the topic under study (Higgins et al., 2011).

Population

The samples included in the studies included for the systematic review consisted of children aged from 5 years to 25 years old. They were attending school or college at the time they experienced parental divorce. This is the population that the present paper seeks to represent.

Ethical procedures

Upholding informed consent is an ethical principle when performing research. Participants must confirm their knowledge of the procedures and all of its risks prior to their involvement in the study. The present research study did not include an informed consent document or procedure because there were no actual participants. Hence, there was no such obligation. Nevertheless, it is assumed that this ethical procedure was previously and properly conducted by the here analyzed peer reviewed articles. Similarly, it is also assumed that the ethical obligation of sustaining participants’ personal information confidentiality and anonymity was properly conducted by the here analyzed peer reviewed articles, and that such responsibility does not fall onto literature review studies such as the present one.

Sampling Frame

In the context of a systematic review, a sampling frame consists of the different databases from which relevant articles are searched and selected. There are systems that provide rather comprehensive lists and materials for each provided keyword. Those utilized for the present study were: Web of Science, Social Work Abstract, Social Services Abstract, Sociological Abstract, JSTOR, MEDLINE, ProQUEST, and PsycINFO.

Materials and instrumentalization

Instruments are necessary for many research designs for proper data collection and analysis. The only instruments needed for this systematic review were the different databases identified above. PRISMA’s (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines were also adopted. PRISMA Statement is a system that aims at supporting those performing systematic reviews and meta-analysis (Liberati et al., 2009) by providing a systematic reporting guideline that enhances accuracy, clarity, and transparency. It is a checklist with 27 items, organized into four sections: introduction, methods, results and discussions. During the review, a four-phase flow diagram is completed. There, the performance of the review paper for each checklist item is completed. The process is repeated per reviewed paper. It is often applied in the healthcare research field, but can be applied to different types of studies, such as randomized trials and quasi-experimental studies (Moher et al., 2009). It was adopted for the present study for it allows for a critical and more trustworthy comparison between reviewed papers.

Data selection procedures

The present literature review focused on peer-reviewed studies about the impact of parental divorce on children’s academic success. The study involved searching for studies that apparently investigated the very same question. The keywords used for searching the databases were: “divorce or separation, child or kid or student or adolescent, education or achieve (achievement) or attain”. The keywords strategy is shown in table 1.

Keywords used in the search strategy

Terms used**
[child*] + [education* or achieve*] + [divorce or separation*]
[kid*] + [education* or achieve*] + [divorce or separation*]
[student*] + [education* or achieve*] + [divorce or separation*]
[adolescent] + [education* or achieve*] + [divorce or separation*]

The abstracts of all the retrieved articles were reviewed to determine their relevance. Relevant articles were retrieved in full, as well as relevant articles found with a manual search based upon the review of the articles’ references. Those which fitted the inclusion criteria were selected. Inclusion criteria were: (1) Empirical studies using and systematically describing their qualitative or/and quantitative research method; (2) Research published between 1990 and 2016; (3) Peer-reviewed papers with abstract; (4) English language; (5) Studies covering the academic achievement for children and adolescents of divorce or separated parents. There were also a few exclusion criteria, namely: (1) Research only covering issues between divorce or critical illness or death; (2) Parental death in catastrophic events; (3) Overviews, editorials, comments, theoretical manuscripts; and (4) Non-peer-reviewed research.

Specifically, 87 studies were selected through database search. After removal of duplicates, 83 articles remained, and carefully reading titles and abstracts, most of the papers had to be excluded (n=76) due to the afore-mentioned inclusion and exclusion criteria and removal of duplicates. From the resulting seven relevant studies, eligible for full text screening and review, one study was excluded due to its very specified “Italy/Catholic” sample that might raise external validity issues and compromise population generalizations. At the end, only six studies remained to be included in the systematic review. The flow chart is presented in Figure 1. All were social sciences articles.

Paper selection process
Figure 1: Paper selection process (PRISMA model).

Data analysis

The type of data analysis determines whether a study is a meta-analysis or a systematic review. A meta-analysis provides a quantitative overview of several different studies that focus on similar variables. That is, it consists of a statistical approach to the comparison of the effects of several studies that revolve around the same variables. This approach can only be applied if enough information is extracted and correlated (Russo, 2007). If there is heterogeneity of participants, measurements and outcomes, a systematic review should be adopted (Russo, 2007). It was the method chosen for the present study. A systematic literature review is a comprehensive review of the research up to the current date without a statistical component. Since no quantitative approach was utilized for the present study and only six studies that met inclusion criteria were selected, the paper illustrates a systematic, not a meta-analytic literature review.

The articles included in the final sample cover expressions of academic success of children or adolescents undergoing parental divorce. Their systematic comparison of the selected six was performed as described by Whittemore and Knafl (2005) and inspired by Miles and Huberman (1994). Specifically, it involved counting the data, finding themes, identifying data relationships, subsuming particulars into generals, noting relations between variability, finding intervening factors, and building the logical chain of evidence. They were also evaluated with regard to methodological scientific standards and relevance to the present research, and, as recommended by Whittemore and Knafl (2005), categorized into one of two categories, high and low, for both the quality and the relevance of each reviewed paper.

For example, regarding relevance, articles with clear research results on the academic achievement were rated high, and rated low if the results were less relevant or included confounding variables that were irrelevant for the study, such as adverse childhood experiences. For methodological/theoretical rating, the scientific standard for both qualitative and quantitative research was followed. None of the articles were excluded in this process. Data extracted using PRISMA data extraction model and systematizing the studies according to their relevance and scientific standard was displayed via Garrard’s (2013) matrix method, which follows a structured approach and process. It is presented in Tables 3 and 4, in the results section.

Results

The final sample comprised six social sciences papers, with impact factors ranging from 1.236 to 3.405. The impact factor is a measure which reflects how extensively the journal is read by the community, how credible it is, and the number of citations it originates. For example, a journal with an impact factor of 50 means that each one of its articles was cited 50 times in a given period of time. This is a very high-impact journals are those most read and cited by other authors. Although there is no cut-value for high vs. low impact factors, and averages vary across fields, in social sciences impact factors above 1 are already moderately good.

Selected papers were published in the Journal of School Psychology, which has a 5-year impact factor of 3.405 (Anthony et al., 2014); in the Demographic Research journal, which has a 5-year impact factor of 1.64 (Bernardi & Radl, 2014); in the Journal of Social Policy, which has a 5-year impact factor of 1.236 (Ely et al., 1999), and in the Journal of Marriage and Family, which has an impact factor of 2.62 (Potter, 2010). The remainder two studies had both been published in Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, which does not possess an impact factor (Arkes, 2015; Ham, 2004). Yet, is an authoritative resource covering all aspects of divorce, including pre-divorce marital and family treatment, marital separation and dissolution, children’s responses to divorce and separation, single parenting, remarriage, and stepfamilies. Table 2 lists the journals, number of this study’s selected articles there published, and the associated impact factor.

Table 2: Journals, number of selected papers, and 5-year impact factors.

Journal # of articles 5 Year impact factor
Journal of School Psychology 1 3.405
Journal of Marriage and Family 1 2.620
Journal of Social Policy 1 1.236
Demographic Research 1 1.640
Journal of Divorce & Remarriage 2 N/A

Studies were published between 1999 and 2015 that gives a range of 15 years. A good number (n= 4) of articles were published in the last 5 years. In terms of location of the studies, four had collected data in the United States (Arkes, 2015; Anthony et al., 2014; Ham, 2004; Potter, 2010). One other study was piloted in the United Kingdom (Ely et al., 1999) and one study tested data from 14 different countries (Australia, Austria, France, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Hungary, Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia, and Russia) (Bernardi & Radl, 2014). Table 3 shows the matrix of general characteristics of the studies. The six studies used a quantitative approach. Disregarding the methodological quality or relevance of the studies, all showed relatively negative effects on academic performance of the subjects that had experienced parental divorce at some time of their educational years.

Table 3: Study Characteristics.

Author/s Year Title Source Objective Findings Location Citations
Anthony et al. 2014 Divorce, approaches to learning, and children’s academic achievement: A longitudinal analysis of mediated and moderated effects Journal of School Psychology To test the whether approaches to learning (ATL) mediates the link between parental divorce and academic achievement. Results indicated that divorce was associated with less growth in test scores and that ATL mediated 18% and 12% of this association in reading and mathematics respectively USA 2
Arkes 2015 The Temporal Effects of Divorces and Separations on Children’s Academic Achievement and Problem Behavior Journal of Divorce & Remarriage To examine the effects of the divorce and separation process on children’s academic achievement and problem behavior over time. Children are affected at least two to four years before the disruption; reading test scores are most affected; and for reading comprehension, the negative effects persist and even escalate as time passes from the disruption USA 3
Bernardi & Radl 2014 The long-term consequences of parental divorce for children’s educational attainment Demographic Research To establish whether the parental breakup penalty for tertiary education attainment varies by socioeconomic background, and whether it depends on the societal context. Parental divorce is negatively associated with children’s tertiary education attainment. Across the 14 countries considered in this study, children of separated parents have a probability of achieving a university degree that is on average seven percentage points lower than that of children from intact families 14 Countries 5
Ely et al., 1999 Secular Changes in the Association of Parental Divorce and Children’s Educational Attainment – Evidence from Three British Birth Cohorts Journal of Social Policy To examine the secular trends in the overall association of parental divorce (or separation) and children’s educational attainment at school-leaving age. The effects of divorce on children have attenuated with the increasing prevalence of divorce. UK 22
Ham 2004 The Effects of Divorce and Remarriage on the Academic Achievement of High School Seniors Journal of Divorce & Remarriage To assess the impact of divorce and remarriage in relation to student’s academic achievement. Family structure impacts both the grade point average and attendance of high school students. Adolescents from intact families outperform students from other family structures. USA 30
Potter 2010 Psychosocial Well-Being and the Relationship Between Divorce and Children’s Academic Achievement Journal of Marriage and Family To examine the role of psychosocial well-being in the relationship between divorce and children’s outcomes Divorce is associated with diminished psychosocial well-being in children, and that decrease helps explain the connection between divorce and lower academic achievement. USA 18

Three studies were rated as high and three as low in terms of methodology/theoretical rigour, whereas four studies were rated as high and two as low regarding relevance. Based on the methodological approaches, as illustrated by Table 4, four studies used regression analysis to test the academic achievement of the children with parental divorce (Anthony et al., 2014; Arkes, 2015; Ham, 2004; Potter, 2010), one study used multilevel linear probability (Bernardi & Radl, 2014), whereas one study used Cohen’s H (Ely et al., 1999). The instruments used to measure academic performance varied among the papers. Arkes (2015) used tests of math, reading comprehension, and reading recognition. Bernardi and Radl (2014) used educational degree, Anthony (2014) used approaches to learning, reading, and math scores, Ely and colleagues (1999) used educational attainment, Ham (2004) used grade average point (GPA) and attendance, and lastly Potter (2010) used math and reading scores. Only two papers by Arkes (2015) and Bernardi and Radl (2014) failed to have a control group in the analysis of their research, all other articles used families with intact children as a control group.

Table 4: Study methodological characteristics.

Study Sample Method Measurement Instruments* Quality**
Anthony et al., 2014 9,794 children from 5-11 years old Quantitative; Observational; Interview Fixed Effect Regression Approaches to learning; Reading; Math 1: High 2: High
Arkes, 2015 20,722 children from 7-14 years old Quantitative; Survey; Interview Linear Regression Math; Reading recognition; Reading comprehension 1: Low 2: High
Bernardi & Radl, 2014 83,048 respondents aged 25 and older Quantitative; Survey Multilevel Linear Probability Education degree 1: Low 2: Low
Ely et al., 1999 3 samples: 5,362 children from 15 to 26; 17,414 mothers; 17,198 mothers; Quantitative; Cohort Surveys; Interview Cohen’s H (Cohen, 1988) Educational Attainment 1: Low 2: low
Ham, 2004 199 High School Seniors Quantitative; Quasi-experimental; Questionnaire Linear Regression GPA; Attendance 1: High 2: High
Potter, 2010 10,061 Children Quantitative; Observational; Interview Linear Regression Math; Reading 1: High 2: High

*Only measurements of academic achievement used in the studies are listed

**1-methodological/theoretical quality; 2-relevance quality.

Discussion

In this section each of the included articles in the review will be discussed by critically appraising their theoretical and methodological approaches, starting with those with higher quality as assessed through Whittemore and Knafl’s criteria.

Anthony et al. (2014) used a multistage approach to clustering geographically-related samples in a randomized manner. Their datasets comprised two large groups: the NELS and the ECLS-K Class which referred to 1988 and 1998-1999 respectively. As it might be seen, the gap between the assessment moments was relatively large which was typical of studies that had a longitudinal format.

In the frame of the study, researchers aimed to assess the role of such factors as a learning approach, age, and gender in determining academic achievements of those children whose parents divorced. The study scored high rates in terms of both data quality and its relevance. The study sample comprised 9,794 children aged 5-11 years old.

Children’s test scores in Reading and Mathematics were used as the indicators of the academic achievement. The researchers likewise used an ATL scale to receive a better idea of the children’s approach to studies. This scale helped to assess such variables as a general attitude, self-control, and associated problems. The information about parental divorce was retrieved through the relevant surveys as well as the data related to children’s instructors. Parent-related information was collected through interviews with the help of professional interviewers.

The study revealed that children who experienced parental divorce had poorer scores in Mathematics. Most importantly, parental divorce proved to have an adverse impact on children’s approach to studies. In the meantime, it should be noted that researchers examined the data referring to the 80s and 90s that were associated with a different social interpretation of divorces. Additionally, the age frame the authors examined – 5-11 years old – was relatively narrow that could have had an adverse impact on the result analysis. Finally, the assessment ATL scale provided only general insights into the change in children’s learning approach after a parental research. These limitations should be essentially considered while evaluating the study.

Another study that had a high value in terms of both methodology quality and relevance was Potter’s (2010) study that examined the impact parental divorced had on children’s psychological well-being. The latter, in its turn, was supposed to affect children’s academic achievements.

The study sample was composed of 10,061 children from kindergartens. As well as in the previous study, scores in Mathematics and Reading served as the key indicators of children’s academic achievements. The researcher used several models to examine the relations between parental divorces, children’s academic performance, and their psychological well-being. The research showed that children with divorced parents had lower scores in both subjects than their classmates. The impact of psychological well-being did not prove to play a significant role in determining academic achievements. The author came to a conclusion that the extent of divorce impact depended on various conditions such as the change in a parent financial status, the psychological response of a child, etc.

In the meantime, there is a limitation that should be considered while evaluating the study. As such, the relations between psychological well-being and academic achievements are not consistently explained.

The next study likewise showed high methodology and relevance quality. In this study, Ham (2004) aimed to evaluate the impact of parental divorce on children’s academic achievements through examining their attendance rates and GPA results. The sample comprised 199 senior students. The author also considered such variables as the gender, race, and the level of their parents’ education.

The research revealed that family structure played an important role in children’s response to a divorce. It likewise showed that children from intact families had higher GPA scores and attendance rates. As such, the test scores of children from intact families were almost 20% higher than those that had an experience of a parental divorce. Similarly, the former showed a 40%-180% higher attendance rate than the latter. Such factors as gender and the level of parents’ education proved to be significant as well. As a result, according to the research findings, there was a close interconnection between the level of a mother’s education and the child’s performance in GPA.

The main limitation that should be considered while evaluating this study is the small size of the selected sample that could have an adverse impact on the accuracy of the received results.

Another study under analysis showed a low rate of methodology quality but a high rate of relevance. In this research, Arkes (2015) tried to evaluate the impact of a parental divorce on children’s academic achievement both several years before the actual disruption and after it. The study relied on a sample that comprised 7-14-year-old children. The children-related data related to 1979. The main variables examined were behavioral problems and the test scores in Mathematics and Reading. The author likewise considered such variables as children’s age, race, and their gender.

Most importantly, the study revealed that children were affected by a parental divorce several years before it actually happened. Additionally, their academic achievements showed to be most vulnerable to the divorce effect in the first two-year period. As such, the author emphasized the fact that the adverse impact of divorce was temporary since most negative consequences naturally disappeared throughout the time.

The key limitation that should be considered is that the author relied on the data from 1979. As such, it can be suggested that the situation could have changed significantly throughout the past 36 years.

Another study discussed showed high scores both in terms of methodological and relevance quality. The authors of the study, Bernardi & Radl (2014), tried to examine the impact of parental divorces on children academic achievements through examining the ability of the latter to attain their tertiary education after the divorce experience. In the meantime, even though the authors mentioned such factors as family social background and economic resources, they did not actually consider them in their study. The used sample comprised the data retrieved from Generations and Gender Survey which related to 83,048 children from 14 different countries. The key determinant of academic achievements was a tertiary education degree.

The research revealed that parental divorces had an adverse effect on children’s ability to get a tertiary education degree. As such, throughout all the 14 countries, the percentage of children from intake families who had the relevant degree was higher than the scope of children with parental divorce experience with this degree. The level of parents’ education likewise proved to be significant. As such, children of highly-educated parents proved to be stronger exposed to the adverse effect of a divorce. Additionally, the research revealed that children were less likely to receive a tertiary education degree in case the level of their mothers’ education was low.

The key limitation of this study resides in the fact that author did not consider economic variables while assessing the scope of children that received tertiary education. Moreover, the attempt to establish relations between the academic achievements and the level of parents’ education was not generally successful since the researchers did not possess the necessary data in many cases. As such, the relevant conclusions were not properly grounded. Additionally, the researchers mainly described the statistical output, without analyzing its implications.

The last research had a low score in terms of methodological quality and relevance. In this research, Eli et al. (1999) tried to evaluate the impact of parental divorces on academic achievements of school leavers. The study analyzed the data that referred to the period shortly after the Second World War. As such, it examined academic achievements of 39,974 students born in 1946-1970. The examined region was Great Britain.

The research has revealed that the extent to which children’s academic achievements were impacted by the divorce factor did not depend on the incidence of divorces. Otherwise stated, the researchers examined a wide timeline so that some children were born at the time that showed a low divorce incidence, while other children were born in the period when the incidence of divorces was higher. Meanwhile, the impact that divorces had on children’s study-related achievement was the same in both cases. As such, at any period, children with a parental divorce experience showed poorer learning results than children from intact families. Therefore, the authors managed to rebut the commonly accepted thesis about the social customization to divorces. Their findings illustrated that a parental divorce tended to have an adverse effect on academic achievements regardless of the rate of divorces in the relevant period.

The Studies’ Analysis through the Lens of Social Theories

The ideas that the analyzed articles translate are closely interconnected with the basic concepts that constitute social and socioeconomic theories of divorces. Hence, for instance, in his theory about divorce-related consequences, Amato (2012) points out such negative outcomes as poor academic achievements that children tend to show after parental divorces. The analyzed articles provide empirical evidence to support this thesis. As such, the major part of research findings shows that children with an experience of a parental divorce have a lower score in Mathematics and Reading tests than their classmates from intact families. In the meantime, this proof is not completely reliable since none of the studies tries to compare the test scores before and after the divorce. As such, it might be assumed that part of the children naturally has lower learning skills that are not affected by the divorce incident. In the meantime, the general trend is fairly visible ensuring the theory’s validity.

Another theory that is closely aligned to the examined studies is the socioeconomic theory. Thus, according to Jalovaara (2013), socioeconomic status of a family is a powerful determinant of its stability. Otherwise stated, couples that are associated with poor economic conditions, as well as a low level of spouses’ education, are more likely to experience divorce than wealth and well-educated couples. The examined studies do not provide any evidence supporting this thesis. Meanwhile, they offer some findings that extend the idea adding some valuable insights. As such, the major part of the examined studies illustrates that poor low education of divorced parents has an adverse effect on the children’s academic achievements after a divorce. Otherwise stated, the studies add some essential proofs of the negative effect of poor socioeconomic conditions on a family in general.

Conclusion

Even though a substantial proportion of children and adolescents experience parental divorce surprisingly few studies have investigated the effect of this phenomenon on their academic achievement. The current review study indicates that these children and adolescents may be a vulnerable group and more information is needed about them. It is particularly suggested that more information about what characterize these children and adolescents and to what extent they may need more or other types of support than other bereaved children and adolescents. If any special needs are identified support measures targeting these children and adolescents should be developed and evaluated.

The lack of studies on effect of academic achievement for children of divorced parents may perhaps reflect the fact that divorce research and educational achievement have been separate fields of study. Also, most of the research has been dealing for children in a whole and not taking into account socio-demographic characteristics. A corresponding separation also seems to exist when it comes to support measures aiming at individuals experiencing divorce. Thus, future research on divorce and academic achievement as well as development of any support measures aiming at their academy achievement may imply more cooperation between experts of child well-being and divorce, respectively. This way the research focusing on children’s academic achievement could contribute to dismantle the unsuitable barriers between the fields of education and divorce, and therefore represent a valuable bridge between these fields.

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