آیا تحصیلات والدین تاثیر طلاق والدین بر روی رفاه کودکان را مشروط می کند؟
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|37142||2014||13 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Social Science Research, Volume 44, March 2014, Pages 187–199
Abstract We use the British Cohort Study to investigate to what extent parental resources moderate the association between parental divorce in childhood and lowered child well-being as indicated by maternal reports of child psychological well-being and by academic test scores (reading and math tests). We argue that children of mothers with more years of education suffer less when their parents split up because better educated mothers may be better able to provide a safe and stable environment for their children after divorce. In addition, we argue that having a better educated father could either aggravate or reduce the effects of parental divorce. This is one of the first studies to simultaneously investigate the role of maternal, and paternal resources, and pre-divorce shared resources. Our analyses indicate that the effect of parental divorce on psychological well-being is reduced for better educated mothers and for families with more pre-divorce economic resources, but increased for better educated fathers. For academic test scores we find a protective effect of having a better educated father and higher pre-divorce social resources.
Introduction There is a large body of research showing that children with divorced parents experience more unfavorable developmental outcomes than children of intact families. Negative effects are found for a range of outcomes in childhood and adulthood, including well-being, behavioral problems, school grades, delinquency, and educational attainment (Amato, 2000 and Amato, 2010). Increasingly, research focuses on factors that may increase or reduce the effects of parental divorce, i.e., questions about moderator (interaction) effects. For example, studies have examined whether the effects of parental divorce depend on the quality of the parents’ marriage (Hanson, 1999, Morrison and Coiro, 1999 and Strohschein, 2005b), the number of siblings (Sun and Li, 2009), race and ethnicity (Fomby and Cherlin, 2007, Kalmijn, 2010, McLanahan and Sandefur, 1994, Osborne and McLanahan, 2007 and Wu and Thomson, 2001), and socio-economic resources of the parents (Albertini and Dronkers, 2009, Biblarz and Raftery, 1993, Cavanagh and Huston, 2006, Elliott and Richards, 1991, Fischer, 2007, Jonsson and Gahler, 1997 and McLanahan and Sandefur, 1994). A review by Hetherington and Stanley-Hagan (Hetherington and Stanley-Hagan, 1999) calls for more research into diversity in outcomes and possible protective factors. This call is echoed about 10 years later in a recent review by Amato (2010) who argues that “researchers should focus less attention on mean differences (…) and more attention on the factors that produce variability” (p. 658) (2010). The present study contributes to this literature by examining whether the impact of parental divorce on child well-being depends on the educational level of mother and father. We investigate two child outcomes psychological well-being and academic test scores (reading and math tests). Researchers have since long recognized that parental resources (social and economic) play a key role in understanding the impact of parental divorce on child well-being (McLanahan and Sandefur, 1994). Most of these studies are studies of mediation; they posit that parental divorce causes a decline in child well-being because a divorce leads to a decline in parental resources available to the child (e.g., Sun and Li, 2002 and Thomson et al., 1994). However, the loss of resources may depend on the pre-divorce levels. Parents with more pre-divorce resources may be better able to provide a safe and stable environment for children even despite a divorce. One mechanism could be that better educated parents may be more aware of the potential negative effects of divorce for the children. As a result they may be more likely to put their grievances aside for the sake of the children and to actively attempt to reduce the negative effects of the divorce. Another mechanism could be that people with more resources may be able to retain the house they were living in, so that the children can stay at their school and can keep their neighborhood friends (Hagan et al., 1996). A few studies have examined such interaction effects, although all of these have focused on the child’s socio-economic outcomes, not on well-being. In Italy, for example, Albertini and Dronkers (2009) found that divorce had a large negative impact on children’s educational attainment for those with less educated mothers while there was no difference in educational attainment between children from divorced and intact families when the mother was better educated. Findings from the National Child Development Study in Britain showed that the effect of parental divorce on children’s reading test scores was stronger for manual class fathers than for non-manual class fathers (Elliott and Richards, 1991). Biblarz and Raftery (1993), however, found the opposite results. Using data for the US, they found that at the high end of the socio-economic spectrum the negative impact of parental divorce on the child’s socio-economic attainment is greater. These mixed findings may be attributed to country differences, but could also be explained by the fact that these studies took the resources of only one parent into account. Following divorce the mother usually remains with the children and the father leaves the household. A mother with high resources may be quite beneficial to the child, but the father’s resources may not have such favorable effects, as these are often lost to the child following divorce. As father’s and mother’s resources are highly correlated, studies that use information on only one parent may give an incomplete picture as mother’s and father’s resources could have opposite effects. The loss of a high resource father may overshadow the benefits of having a high resource mother in such studies. We are aware of only two studies that examine effects of parental divorce while incorporating information about the resources of both the parents. Using Swedish registry data, Jonsson and Gahler (1997) found that the effect of parental divorce on the child’s educational career was most unfavorable if a high resource father and a low resource mother broke up. In the Netherlands, Fischer showed that the impact of parental divorce on the child’s educational level is lower when levels of mother’s education are higher whereas the impact is larger when father’s education is higher (Fischer, 2007). Clearly, these studies illustrate the importance of looking at the resources of the mother and father simultaneously. Little research has examined the interaction between parental socio-economic resources and parental divorce for child well-being. To our knowledge, only two studies shed some light on this issue. The study of Elliott and Richards (1991) in the UK also investigated child behavioral problems, but they did not find significant interactions between parental divorce and socio-economic resources. In a study of family instability and children’s early problem behavior, Cavanagh and Huston (2006) found that a greater “HOME score,” a measure of child toys and other commodities in the home, decreased the effect of family instability on negative behaviors towards teachers and a higher income reduced negative behaviors towards peers. The present paper contributes to this literature by examining whether the impact of parental divorce on child well-being (as indicated by maternal reports of psychological well-being and by academic test scores) depends on the educational level of mother and father. We focus on these aspects of child well-being because they have been widely used in this literature and they also allow us to test our hypotheses across different domains of children’s lives (i.e., at home and at school). We use educational level as our indicator of parental socio-economic resources, as educational level is the best indicator of the social, economic, and cognitive resources a person possesses in modern societies. Moreover, educational level is the most comparable socio-economic indicator for men and women and is relatively fixed over time, which makes it ideal when studying the impact of divorce (i.e., a parent’s education is not affected by his or her divorce). However, mother’s and father’s educational level are not exhaustive indicators of parental economic and social resources. We therefore, additionally examine whether other parental shared resources, such as economic hardship, moderate the impact of divorce beyond that of parental educational level. To our knowledge, this is one of the first studies to simultaneously investigate the moderating influence of maternal, paternal and shared pre-divorce resources. The data we use come from the British Cohort Study (BCS). This panel dataset makes it possible to investigate the impact of parental divorce between age 5 and 10 on the well-being of children at age 10. The BCS has the advantage that it is a very large dataset, so that we observe sufficient parental divorces in order to be able to detect variability in the impact of divorce. We only investigate children living with their mothers before and after the marital split because the number of children living in other arrangements was too small and would blur the results. An additional advantage is that the predictions regarding the effects of mother’s and father’s resources are less ambiguous in these cases.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
5. Conclusion and discussion We used the British Cohort Study to investigate to what extent parental resources moderate the association between parental divorce on two child outcomes; psychological well-being and academic performance (reading and math test scores). We argued that better educated mothers may be better able to provide a safe and stable environment for their children after divorce. Children of mothers with more years of education may therefore suffer less when their parents split up. Furthermore, we argued that having a better educated father could either aggravate or reduce the effects of parental divorce. Moreover, we held a range of pre-divorce shared economic and social resources constant and also investigated whether these moderated the impact of divorce. We tested these assertions on a large prospective dataset of children that included measures taken at ages 5 and 10. Between age 5 and 10 about 5% of the parents had divorced (499 children). We have found some evidence that the mother’s educational level interacts with parental divorce for psychological well-being. We found a positive interaction effect, showing that a parental divorce in childhood is less detrimental to child psychological well-being if the mother is better educated. For the best educated mothers, there may even be a small positive effect, but for lower educated mothers, the effect is quite negative. This interaction was only found when the interaction with father’s education was also included. For academic performance, we did not find an interaction effect for the mother. For father’s education, we had opposite predictions and the results are somewhat more uncertain. When we focus on child psychological well-being, we see a negative interaction effect. For academic performance with regard to reading we find a positive interaction effect; children of more highly educated father’s experience less negative effects of divorce for doing well academically. For the shared pre-divorce resources, we find that net of the parental educational interactions children from poor families suffer more psychologically from divorce. Social resources, whether parents read to their children prior to divorce, predicted a much reduced impact of divorce on both the reading and math academic test scores. Theoretically, we suggested several mechanisms to understand the interaction effects. For the mother, we argued that better educated mothers would be less likely to fall into poverty after divorce. We also argued that better educated mothers would be more aware of the possible harm of divorce to their children, and hence, would be more likely to make additional investments in their children after divorce. Finally, we argued that better educated mothers would suffer less psychologically from a divorce compared to lower educated mothers. This too, could have a positive outcome for children. Although these mechanisms have been studied and confirmed in other research before, it remains to be seen which of these mechanisms is most responsible for the interactions that we found. Our main purpose now was to establish that there was an interaction effect in the first place. We established this, but can offer only tentative explanations for our findings. For psychological well-being we found three interactions effects with divorce: children with a more highly educated mother were better off, worse off if the father was more highly educated, and worse off if the family was poor prior to divorce. All in all, this pattern suggests that children cope better with divorce if their parents can ensure their material well-being. For the other dimension of well-being, doing well in school, our findings suggest another mechanism. Here we found that children with a more highly educated father and children whose parents read to them prior to divorce did not suffer as much from divorce. This suggests that children can do well in school despite a divorce as long as both parents remain involved, and that material circumstances play less of a role. The consequences of our findings are complex. At first, the finding seems to have a positive implication. As the population of most western societies continues to become better educated, we would expect that the effects of divorce on children in general would also become less negative in society. At the same time, however, there is evidence that in some societies, divorce has become relatively more common among the lower educated than among the better educated (Graaf and Kalmijn, 2001, Hoem, 1997 and Martin, 2006). This would run counter to the previous, more optimistic conclusion. The picture may be even bleaker, as the benefits of education found in this study could have arisen solely because education indicates someone’s relative position in society. Educational expansion therefore does not necessarily bring more resources to children. Finally, and more importantly, we could argue that the interactions that we found imply a cumulative disadvantage. Children of lower educated parents have worse life chances in the first place and when their parents divorce or separate, they are affected more negatively. This suggests that the problem of divorce may become more rather than less important over time. It also means that issues of family life and social stratification remain closely linked in modern societies (McLanahan, 2004).