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Academic success declines among wealthy children when their parents divorce

by | May 5, 2021 | Divorce

Researchers have long been investigating the impact divorce can have on kids’ development and other areas of their lives.

In 2019, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) set out to understand if divorce impacts some kids more than others. The researchers discovered that divorce seems to have a more significant, adverse impact on the academic success of children belonging to wealthier families than those of lesser means. The study’s author theorized as to why that’s the case.

How researchers determined that divorce impacts academic success

The sociology and statistics professor that spearheaded this research studied two different family data sets to reach their conclusions. She compared data from 4,931 mothers and 11,512 children from different socioeconomic backgrounds.

She determined that children of divorce were 6% less likely to graduate high school. These same kids were 15% less likely to earn their college degrees than their peers.

Why does divorce so greatly impact wealthy kids’ academic success?

The study’s lead researcher took data showing the impact divorce has on kids from more privileged backgrounds that had a stable home life. She then compared those statistics with data highlighting the effect divorce has on the academics of a child belonging to a family of average means with perhaps a less stable home environment.

Researchers determined that the unexpected nature of divorce that disrupts a seemingly stable home life has the most serious consequences on the academic success of a child of means.

The researchers used high school graduation and college prospects as an indicator of successful academic performance. The study’s author offered a single explanation as to why children from unstable home environments likely didn’t see as significant of an academic decline compared to kids of means. She noted that it has to do with the former having already experienced disruptions that impacted their ability to achieve these goals long before their parents split.

Minimizing the impact your divorce has on your children

A divorce can be jarring for any child. You and your co-parent’s commitment to resolving any disputes that arise between closed doors can take some unnecessary pressure off of them, though. You may find it helpful to bring a third party such as an attorney into the fold should you find it challenging to have amicable conversations with your ex about your child.