MU Extension MU Extension       University of Missouri    ●    Columbia    ●    Kansas City       Rolla     ●    St. Louis


Relationships Quick Answers



What is the affect of divorce on children's success in school?

Whether you use children's grades, standardized test scores, or dropout rates, children whose parents divorce generally have poorer scores. These results have been found quite consistently throughout a variety of research studies over the past three decades. Importantly, children's actual performance on tests consistently shows this difference, but results based on teacher or parent reports are less likely to show this difference. We believe that both parents and teachers often underestimate the difficulties a child may be having in school or may not recognize the problems.

In some cases, it appears that children's difficulties with school may be caused more by their behavior than their intellectual abilities. The pattern may be somewhat different for boys and girls. Boys are more likely to be aggressive and have problems getting along with their peers and teachers. These problems may lead them to spend less time in school or on their school work. Girls, on the other hand, are more likely to experience depression, which may interfere with their ability to concentrate on schoolwork or to put as much effort into their work. School success has long-term implications for children's success in life, and so it is important to find ways to support children from divorced families.


Robert Hughes, Jr., Ph.D., Former Professor, Department of Human Development & Family Studies, College of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri







Can't Find Your Question Here? Try Searching Our Quick Answer Knowledge Base

Last update: Tuesday, August 26, 2008




University of Missouri logo links to

Site Administrator: 
Copyright  ADA  Equal Opportunity

MissouriFamilies is produced by the College of Human Environmental Sciences,
Extension Division, University of Missouri-Columbia