I have already written more generally about the effect of divorce on children elsewhere on this site (click here to read one of my related articles). However, this article considers the effect on children who are particularly young (under the age of five years) with specific reference on how it affects the security of their relationships with their parents once they themselves become adults.
A study conducted by Fraley and Heffernan (2013) examined the injurious psychological and emotional effects of parental divorce on very young children in comparison with those sustained by children who were older when their parents divorced.
- if the mother was awarded custody of the child, the child was more likely to have a damaged relationship (in terms of feelings of security) with his/her father
- however, if the father was awarded custody, the child’s relationship with the father (in terms of security) was relatively less damaged.
Effect On Adult, Romantic Relationships :
The study also found (though the evidence here was rather more tenuous in statistical terms) that those individuals whose parents divorced during his/her childhood were at more likely (though certainly not guaranteed) to be adversely affected by anxiety in connection with adult, romantic relationships in later life.
Childhood Trauma And Its Link To Depression And Anxiety, by David Hosier MSc.