The Impact of Family Structure and Change on Child Outcomes - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1286 Words
Date:  2022-06-19


Parental separation is regarded as one of the contributing factors that affect a child's well-being in relation to the adverse effects of the outcomes. As a result, these effects tend to range from a cognitive capacity, physical health, emotional and mental health as well as social conduct and behaviour among others (Lee & McLanahan, 2015). In early adulthood, the cases involved may include higher rates of early pregnancy and early marriage-related issues. In most cases, children and young adults are weighed down heavily, and in turn, their domains of functioning may be significantly affected (Gherasim, Brumariu, & Alim, 2017). The main aim of this paper is to examine if a correlation can exist between a parent's situation such as divorce. This research will include addressing the gap that exists between the parent's situation regarding self-esteem and depression. Furthermore, it will also look at how self-esteem and depression can affect a child's outcome both in short-term and long-term perspectives.Family members are often required to make necessary adjustments regarding divorce or separation. The reason for this is because children may experience emotional distress which in turn can affect their behavioral patterns or decline in academic performance (Palosaari & Aro, 1995). According to various studies that have been carried out, divorce-related difficulties are commonly experienced in girls especially during adolescence. This kind of experience may often result in low self-esteem and difficulties in maintaining intimate relationships due to fear of abandonment (Rosenberg, 2015). Thus, most of them become vulnerable to grief and anxiety due to the setback of the divorce. Also, they tend to express certain dynamics that drive adolescent transformation more intensely. These dynamics include separation, differentiation, and opposition.

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One of the main common factors that contribute to earlier parental divorce is being vulnerable to depression, especially in young adulthood. For instance, individual diversity may be associated with the responses that are generated as a result of being in a stressful environment, especially during childhood (Palosaari & Aro, 1995). Despite the risk that is involved in the maladaptive life course, most people can overcome such situations or challenges they encounter. Stressful experiences resulting from childhood are often incorporated by various factors to create a profound impact on the child, family and community (Somers, Ibrahim, & Luecken, 2017). These factors may range from negotiation processes of life transitions to mitigating or buffering the effects that are associated with psychiatric risk.

Another important factor which leads to divorce is domestic violence. This factor is presented as one of the leading causes of violence related to public health. Some of its effects include depression, suicidal ideation, and other psychological problems (Reynolds et al., 2001). Children who are victims of domestic violence are prone to suffering from psychological effects such as insecurity which may be demanding. As such, most of them tend to blame themselves for causing such an act in an attempt to restore the balance between them. Despite different reactions that are encountered after witnessing domestic violence, most boys are likely to abuse their partners later on in life in comparison to girls. This is because most girls may likely be victims of abuse. Also, domestic violence may also come as a result of various factors such as age, socio-economic status, race, and repeat victimization among others.

The study of child development has widely been enhanced as a result of the approaches of recent advances in the systems theory. In turn, this process has generated an interest regarding how familial variables are interconnected and adjusted. Based on Adlerian theory, the Individual Psychology's Parental Model disregards the autocratic parenting style (Milevsky, Schlechter, Netter, & Keehn, 2007). It implies that this method may not enhance effectiveness due to the superiority/ inferiority relationship that exists between the parent and child. As such, it may be hard for a child to acquire responsibility due to this kind of approach. On the other hand, permissive parenting may often have adverse effects on children (Gherasim, Brumariu, & Alim, 2017). This is because its main intention does not underlie within the child's achievement. On the contrary, a democratic parenting style is preferably considered to be effective due to its ability to enable the child to adjust to any environment psychologically. Furthermore, this style of parenting may improve behavioral compliance as well as psychological autonomy as objectives which are interdependent in the development of the child.

Some of the common symptoms which are experienced among young adults as a result of parental divorce include sadness and depression. After the parental divorce, a child is not required to go through short-term adaptation because this will affect the overall process (Palosaari & Laippala, 1996). In most case, it is because the past experiences may influence self-esteem when the child becomes an adult. Such an experience is often accompanied by being vulnerable to depression, especially in a negative environment. Furthermore, subsequent alliterations and experiences associated with divorce may greatly impact the well-being of a child from a psychological perspective.

Many clinicians have adapted to the ideology that depression often comes as a result of low self-esteem. Depression tends to be accompanied by different characteristics (Battle, 1978). These include pessimism, sense of failure, self-dislike, and social withdrawal as well as a somatic preoccupation. On the other hand, most individuals who experience low self-esteem encounter feelings which may be distressful. This may include self-hatred which in turn may have psychosomatic symptoms. According to various studies that have been conducted, self-esteem may also be linked to various psychological and behavioral problems (Bajaj, Robins, & Pande, 2016). For instance, it may lead to substance abuse, unwanted pregnancies, criminal behaviors, and academic failure among others.


Overall, most cases of marriage which involve instability can create a negative impact in the surrounding microsystems. As a result, the consequences of divorce can affect a child's cognitive functioning, psychological adjustment as well as behavior and social ability. Other factors include depression and low self-esteem which in turn can lead to unwanted behavioral patterns such as criminal behaviors, and unwanted pregnancies among others. Various researches that have been conducted have come up with a new stage of development which would assist in finding a solution to such an issue. For example, through the enhancement of social support among those who are affected many individuals can be able to overcome the different psychological traumas they experienced.


Bajaj, B., Robins, R. W., & Pande, N. (2016). The mediating role of self-esteem on the relationship between mindfulness, anxiety, and depression. Personality and Individual Differences, 96, 127-131.

Battle, J. (1978). The relationship between self-esteem and depression. Psychological Reports, 42(3), 745-746.

Gherasim, L. R., Brumariu, L. E., & Alim, C. L. (2017). Parenting Style and Children's Life Satisfaction and Depressive Symptoms: Preliminary Findings from Romania, France, and Russia. Journal of Happiness Studies, 18(4), 1013-1028.

Lee, D., & McLanahan, S. (2015). Family structure transitions and child development: Instability, selection, and population heterogeneity. American sociological review, 80(4), 738-763.

Milevsky, A., Schlechter, M., Netter, S., & Keehn, D. (2007). Maternal and paternal parenting styles in adolescents: Associations with self-esteem, depression and life-satisfaction. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 16(1), 39-47.

Palosaari, U., Aro, H., & Laippala, P. (1996). Parental divorce and depression in young adulthood: adolescents' closeness to parents and selfesteem as mediating factor. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 93(1), 20-26.

Palosaari, U. K., & Aro, H. M. (1995). Parental divorce, self-esteem and depression: an intimate relationship as a protective factor in young adulthood. Journal of affective disorders, 35(3), 91-96.

Reynolds, M. W., Wallace, J., Hill, T. F., Weist, M. D., & Nabors, L. A. (2001). The relationship between gender, depression, and self-esteem in children who have witnessed domestic violence. Child Abuse & Neglect, 25(9), 1201-1206.

Rosenberg, M. (2015). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton university press.

Somers, J. A., Ibrahim, M. H., & Luecken, L. J. (2017). Biological sensitivity to the effects of childhood family adversity on psychological well-being in young adulthood. Child Maltreatment, 22(3), 236-244.

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