Essay on Divorce in American Society

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Introduction

According to the American Psychological Association, 40% to 50% of married couples in America go through a divorce. (USA Today, 2019) Divorce is common in America and is constantly increasing, with six out of ten divorces having children involved. (Freebackgroundchecks.com, 2006) As stated by multiple sources this action has been known to affect a child’s behavior. Society tends to blame the child’s attitude on the child just acting out phase when the cause or background to the child’s act out is not being analyzed. Being able to identify the effects that divorce has on a child’s behavior brings awareness to many parents on why their child behaves the way that they do. Identifying whether it has a bigger effect on younger or older children. This research is meant not only to educate parents on the effect of their actions but also to help educators and the education system understand how to approach children with this issue. Providing the child with the support they need. Through quantitative applied analysis this research will lead to uncovering whether divorce affects children at a young age. In an attempt to identify if the percentage of a younger child affected negatively is higher than the one of an older child.

Literature Review

In 2008, Shannon E. Cavanagh and C. Huston discussed in their article the findings of the NICHD SECCYD study. A longitudinal study was done to evaluate early childcare and youth development, that followed selected families from when the mother gave birth to mid-childhood. (Wiley.com, 2008) They found that divorce can bring stress to the family as a whole and cause that stress to transfer to the child. “This stress, in turn, can disrupt children’s sense of security and feelings of connectedness with parents and create ambiguity in family relationships, household rules, and parental expectations.” (Wiley.com, 2008) One of the main effects that are found throughout many of the research that has been conducted within other studies relates to stress particularly. This study was done in 2008, and recent statistic from 2018 still correlates with the findings of this study. According to Sophia Wright children, that experience divorce present long-term impacts as well as short-term impacts. This once again not only causes stress, but also causes aggression, trouble concentrating, and academic grades. (Freebackgroundchecks.com, 2006) Both of these findings mention the way that the child is negatively affected not only mentally but emotionally and physically. It is statistically proven that 35% of children living with both biological parents are healthier than those who live in a split household. (Freebackgroundchecks.com, 2006) Something not mentioned by current studies is the age at which a child is more vulnerable to feeling this change in their family, nor the way that a divorce can cause a personality change in the child. Being in a split household would mean that the child would have to stay with both parents separately. This can also cause a change in the child's personality as they will switch personalities depending on the parent that they are with.

Research Question

What is the impact of a divorce on a child’s behavior at a young age?

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Data Collection

The study will consist of an observational study with interviews, the observational study will be two weeks for each group individually. I selected this method because by doing an observational experiment I will get to see the child’s true behavior play out. An observational experiment is the best way to view someone's true behavior in their “natural habitat” If I do an experiment in which the child is aware, that I am watching their behavior it is more likely that they won’t reflect their true behavior. The cons of doing this method would mean that I have to be careful with this method and the extra data that I collect since observational studies are not always the best way to determine cause and effect. Notes will be reordered on a notepad, in which I record how the child goes on with their day and jot down the child’s behavior to a certain encounter. I want to be able to do the study on children at a young age because I want to identify if age also plays a role in how it affects a child. I will have to receive consent from the parents to observe their kids. Informed consent letters will be sent home to allow parents to be aware that an observational study will be done to observe their child’s behavior daily for two weeks. This part might be an obstacle to the study since I will not be able to proceed without the consent of all parents. The interview portion of the experiment will be done through a tape recorder, in which the parent's answers to questions will be recorded. By interviewing the parents I will not only be able to see their facial expressions to their answers to certain questions, but it will also help me identify the child’s household status. Most adult’s facial expression gives away their feelings towards their partners feeling which will be something that I will also record. I will also request access to the participant's transcript record of behavioral conduct from the school, but I will only request this access for participants that I am observing. The point of the transcript record of a child’s behavior is to not only observe the child’s behavior but also have an extra evidence record of the child’s already known behavior. My intentions are also to see if there is a present change of behavior on the child’s record if changes in their behavior were seen at some point. For the safety of my participants, their records will only be viewed by me, along with the recorded data of the observational study. Participants will all be assigned a number to keep their names anonymous when gathering, analyzing, and presenting the data. Since I will focus on two schools and within two classrooms of 25 students, I expect to have 100 participants who will be assigned a number 00-99 to replace their names. This will prevent the child from being exposed, which is also why I have chosen not to record the observational study section. Eligibility for the participants would be that they are in 1st or 3rd grade.

I will gather participants that are 1st and 3rd-grade children from two different elementary schools only focusing on one classroom for each grade in each school. My independent variable is divorce and the dependent variable is the child's behavior. Being able to run the study on two elementary schools will raise the number of participants, I am uncertain that all children with bad behavior will have a history of a divorce. This may lead to some participants being eliminated from the study. I also chose two different grade levels, because I want to compare the difference in the children’s ages. Their behavior will be observed to view the way that they act, which will then be compared to their transcript, transcript records of which contain write-ups of missed conduct that the student has received. Those participants who present negative behavior and a transcript of a record of misconduct will be analyzed further by having their parents interviewed. Participants who present good behavior and a transcript with a clean record of misconduct will also be analyzed further by having their parents interviewed. Looking at both good and bad behavior within a child will help compare if the household status of the child shows a relationship with the way that the child is acting. Interviewing the parents will be a form of identifying whether the child has both parental figures at home. The interview that I conduct will be very basic with only two main questions asking; How many people live in the household? Does the child have both parental and maternal figures? Depending on the answer to the second question will determine whether the interview with the parents will proceed. Elevating to questions such as; Whether both parents have split custody? How many days/hours are both parents allowed to have the child with them at separate times? These questions will help me determine the child’s background story history, behavior transcript record, and notes recorded on observation.

Data Analyzes

I am trying to identify if there is a correlation between misbehavior and a divorce between parents. After gathering the information from all 100 participants, I will consider doing a table. I want to split the results into two groups, one grouping being the ones who showed bad behavior and whose parents also admitted having had a divorce and the other group being participants who reflected good behavior and whose parents admitted to still being together. Through a segment bar graph, I will be able to spot the difference in both groups and determine if a divorce does hurt the child’s behavior. This analysis will be done for each grade but will combine the classes from both schools based on a grade to see if the younger children have a higher percentage of negative effects due to the divorce or if an older child has a higher percentage of being negatively affected by the divorce. In other words, there will be two groups of 3rd graders good behavior and bad behavior and there will be 1st grader's good behavior and bad behavior.

Implication/Significance

I expect that this study can reflect on society and the way a divorce can hurt a child at a younger age. As shown in the literature review these studies have reflected the way that a divorce can stress a child and have effects on them in the long run. Through the research prompt that I am proposing, I expect to prove that this impact is heavier on children of a younger age compared to children of an older age. Something that has not been shown in other studies. Not only will this research bring awareness to a parent and guide them towards trying to keep their child out of their divorce situation, but it will also educate society on how to approach these children. These studies should be one of the most attention-drawing because they shine a light on an extremely important topic that is harming children at a young age. Which has been causing not only mental but also physical effects on a child that can harm them as they continue to grow. With the constant increase in divorce, society should be alarmed about the way that this is going to affect many children. Being able to expand and proceed with this prompt in the future only provides more support to the current studies on how big this issue can become.

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Essay on Divorce in American Society. (2024, March 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 15, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/essay-on-divorce-in-american-society/
“Essay on Divorce in American Society.” Edubirdie, 27 Mar. 2024, edubirdie.com/examples/essay-on-divorce-in-american-society/
Essay on Divorce in American Society. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/essay-on-divorce-in-american-society/> [Accessed 15 Apr. 2024].
Essay on Divorce in American Society [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2024 Mar 27 [cited 2024 Apr 15]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/essay-on-divorce-in-american-society/
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