The Costly Consequences of Divorce

A 1996 report, The Costly Consequences of Divorce, explores the changes in America’s attitude towards marriage, divorce, cohabitation, and parenting. Then it takes readers though a step-by-step analysis of the potential adverse physical, emotional, psychological, and economic stress that occurs for adults and children as a result of marital destruction. Here are their findings:

  • Men who are separated or divorced receive hospital or psychiatric care 20 times more frequently than married men do.
  • Men who divorce heighten their risk of cancer about as much as if they had taken up smoking a pack or more of cigarettes per day.
  • Divorce now ranks as the number one factor linked with suicide rates in large U.S. cities.
  • Family factors such as marital disruption, parental conflict, or rejection play important roles in determining who might abuse alcohol or drugs.
  • Children who have experienced a divorce often score worse on measures of self‑esteem, psychological adjustment, academic achievement, and emotional and behavioral problems, than do children living in intact families, or even than children living with single mothers who have never been married.
  • Children in disrupted families are more likely than those of intact families to drop out of high school.