Summary: Separation by Parents Effect Son's &
Daughter's Depression Differently
Both mothers and fathers make unique
contributions to their children's well-being. Increased attention
needs to be placed on these contributions and how parental
separation effects these contributions on children.
recent by the Journal of Marriage and Family was conducted in order
to research the short-term effects of parental separation on
adolescent delinquency and depression. The data for the 2002 study
came from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.
Within this study, two waves of interviews were conducted
approximately a year apart. The first wave of interviews was
conducted from September 1994 through December 1995, and the second
wave of interviews was conducted between April and August of 1996.
The results of this study indicate that both mothers and fathers
make unique contributions to their children’s well-being. These
findings are particularly important because, in this day and age,
children are more likely than ever to spend time in single-parent
homes, and current trends indicate that parents who do not live with
their children tend to have infrequent contact with them.
Furthermore, children, especially boys, are more likely to live with
their fathers. According to this article, if opposite-sex parents
constitute a critical influence on children’s mental well-being,
then boys who reside in father-only homes may experience lowered
mental health if their relationship with their mother deteriorates
after the parental separation. For girls, the research in this study
suggests that they may be just as troubled by family difficulties as
boys but manifest their distress in different ways. Typically, girls
are thought to respond to stress with internalized reactions, or
problems of over-control. However, this study showed that the higher
adolescent girls rated their relationship with their father, the
less likely they were to experience depression after a parental
separation. Finally, increased attention should be placed on the
unique contributions that both mothers and fathers make to their
children’s well-being and how parental separation affects these
Effects of Parent-Adolescent Relationships and Parental Separation
on Adolescent Well-Being,
Journal of Marriage and Family, May 2002, Vol. 64, pp. 489-503.