Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Divorce May Widen Distance Between Teens, Fathers

Date:
January 11, 2008
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
The typical distancing from parents by adolescents is exacerbated by divorce for fathers, but not for mothers, according to a recent study. Although research demonstrates that fathers' involvement with children has increased in recent decades, mothers continue to do the majority of childcare while fathers are the less involved parent.

The typical distancing from parents by adolescents is exacerbated by divorce for fathers, but not for mothers, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family.

"Historically, teens distance themselves from parents and increase involvement with peers," says co-author Dr. Alan Booth, distinguished professor of sociology, human development and demography at Penn State. "Coupled with divorce, this distancing may result in further declines in father-child closeness."

Although research demonstrates that fathers' involvement with children has increased in recent decades, mothers continue to do the majority of childcare while fathers are the less involved parent.

Parental divorce creates an immense pressure to decrease father-child closeness, supplemented by the many barriers created by a father's physical separation from the children. Fathers, who often are the less involved parent before divorce, would have to increase their investment in the relationship just to maintain pre-divorce levels of closeness, which the vast majority of fathers do not do, according to the study.

"Therefore, fathers are at a disadvantage in closeness to start, and then divorce makes it even more challenging to be close," say the researchers.

The team comprising Mindy Scott of Child Trends and Booth, Valarie King and David Johnson, all faculty at Penn State, examined information reported by high school students participating in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent health.

A sub-sample of youth, drawn from a nationally representative sample, was interviewed at the beginning and the end of a five-year period. Reports from youth whose parents remained married were compared with reports from youth whose parents were divorced by end of the period.

Prior to divorce, 71 percent of youth reported being very close to their mothers, while 57 percent reported being very close to their fathers.

The teens' withdrawal from fathers was much more severe among those youths with divorced parents (56 percent) than among those with non-divorced parents (28 percent), the study says.

The proportion of youths who reported a consistently close relationship with their father was much higher among those with still-married parents (48 percent) than among those with divorced parents (25 percent).

There was no significant difference in the change in closeness to mothers reported by youths in either group.

"Those teens who maintained a close relationship with their father had a stronger mother-child bond and a greater sense of well-being, defined as feelings about relationship qualities and perception's of their own qualities and abilities," Booth notes.

He adds, "Future research may look at information directly from the fathers about their evaluation of father-child closeness and his views of opportunities and constraints affecting before and after-divorce closeness with their children."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Divorce May Widen Distance Between Teens, Fathers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080109094337.htm>.
Penn State. (2008, January 11). Divorce May Widen Distance Between Teens, Fathers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080109094337.htm
Penn State. "Divorce May Widen Distance Between Teens, Fathers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080109094337.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) — A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) — Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) — We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) — A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins