Our Voices Matter: Exploring the Experience of Divorce for Young Children
Hirschfeld, Mara Rae
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While divorce can be challenging for children at any age, research suggests that children under the age of six are at increased risk for behavioral and developmental delays (Emery, 1999; Hetherington, 1979, Wallerstein and Blakeslee, 1989). Despite their increased risk, the majority of research on children's adjustment post-divorce has focused on older school age children and adolescents (Jennings and Howe, 2001; Mutchler, Hunt, Koopman, and Mutchler, 1992) rather than young children. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study is to explore the experience of divorce for young children (ages 5-7 old). Results produced five themes regarding children's emotional experience of divorce, which include trying to make sense of the divorce, feelings they experience/how they describe themselves, experience and advice: "]stop fighting,"what they worry about, and coping skills/ways to distract themselves. Discussion conjectures about these themes and makes suggestions for clinical implications and future studies in an effort to mitigate short-term consequences and help children cope with their parents' divorce.
- Masters Theses