Effects of parental divorce on children in relation to development and attachment style



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Extensive research on the impact of divorce on children has been conducted. Much of this research emphasizes negative findings. Debate over the factors that exacerbate or alleviate these negative findings exists, and prompted investigation in this literature review. Two factors that may determine how children will react to parental divorce are the child's developmental acuity and attachment style at the time of the divorce event. This review explains developmental tasks from a psychosocial and cognitive perspective for developing children from birth to age 18. An understanding of these models can be used to examine how children may be vulnerable to the stresses in a divorcing family, as well as identifying how to help children of all ages become resilient. Research included in this review suggests that a secure attachment and consistent parenting are the best buffers from negative effects. This literature review is intended to be a guide to aid parents, counselors, and other professionals who seek the best outcome for children of divorce.