Divorce: A Psychological Analysis

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Divorce can increase the risk of emotional, behavioral, and social problems in children (Stallman & Ohan, 2016), which can be caused by changes in emotional, social, residential, and financial life (Stallman & Ohan, 2016). These divorced parents can experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress (Stallman & Ohan, 2016), and these can interfere with proper parenting practices. Families with non-divorced parents and a non-distressed household had the lowest risk of distress symptoms (14%), the risk is moderate for a family with either a divorced or distressed parent (20%), and highest when the parents are distressed and divorced (30%) (Stallman & Ohan, 2016). All of this proving that divorce and distress within a family can cause psychological …show more content…
Some of the reactions to parental divorce among infants, from birth to one year, include: irritability, increase in crying, increase need for physical contact, and acute separation anxiety (Oppawsky, 2014). At this stage in development the infant is developing what Erick Erikson called trust versus mistrust and if their needs are not met because the parents are distracted from the problems involving the divorce, then the child will develop mistrust from the care of others (Berger, 2009; Erikson, 1963; Oppawsky, 2014). Those developing mistrust will set them up on a bad path for future relationships because they do not have a secure attachment with people (Berger, 2009; Oppawsky, 2014). Children aging one to three react by clinging to parents and searching for the other parent when one is gone (Oppawsky, 2014). This stage of development is Erikson’s autonomy versus shame and doubt (Erikson, 1963; Oppawsky, 2014), which will allow them to be self-sufficient while learning new activities or cause them to doubt their abilities to do the activities (Berger, 2009). Children age’s three to six have similar reactions to those of younger ages (Oppawsky, 2014). At this point in development Freud claims children’s superego to be in its final stage of development and they are able to form their own ideas and make their own judgements (Freud, 1923, 1924; Oppawsky, 2014). If these judgements are negative then future situations that are related will also be viewed as negative. Also relating to Erikson’s psychosocial stage of initiative versus guilt, the children can end up feeling guilty about the divorce and blaming themselves, act in rebellious ways to push their parent’s limits, or try to act like mini adults by doing adult like activities (Berger, 2009; Erikson, 1963). The age’s six to twelve have

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