Issues concerning divorce have over the years received a heavy share of research attention and time. Disruption of marriage institutions has been blamed for a number of alternative misfortunes in the modern day society.
One such misfortune is depression which basically is a state of mental illness that arises form either social economic or relational hardships in an individual’s life. The levels of depression among men and women differ in magnitude and numbers. This research interrogated this claim giving specific reference to divorce as the central cause of depression.
Statement of the problem
The past decade has seen allot of emphatically research on the effects of divorce on the various stakeholders. The studies vary from the effects that marital disruptions have on children to the effects that divorce has on adults.
The studies have employed varying cross sectional designs that aim at providing a tentative construction of the role of divorce in the society and in as far as depression is concerned. Majority have concluded a connection between the marital status of an individual and their mental health (Sanderson 2002, p80–86).
Others go further to investigate the connection between the marital status of an individual and their level of mental health. These have also arrived at a connection between the stability of the individual’s marital status and the level of mental health of such an individual.
There has been little effort however to interrogate the gender related aspect of the effects of divorce. Most of the existing research focuses mainly on the general impact of divorce among young adults or the spouses in general. This research therefore addresses this research gap by exploring the hypothesis as to whether divorce has varying effects on men than in women in as far as depression is concerned (Allison 2001 p 130-145).
- Does divorce have a greater impact on men than on women in terms of depression?
Amato P (2000) the Consequences of Divorce for Adults and Children Journal of Marriage and Family Volume 62, Issue 4, p 1269–1287
The article uses divorce as a stress adjustment perspective to analyze the impact of divorce on children and adults. The study focuses on the 1990s statistics on marriage and divorce to answer five thematic questions.
It seeks to respond to the differences in character between the individuals from divorced families as opposed to those from married families. It also seeks to enquire into the length and extent of the difference in character and behavior and whether the difference is a short lived situation of a long term crisis to which the adults have to strain to live with from their tender ages to maturity.
It also investigates the factors that motivate or de-motivate an individual s ability to come to terms with a divorce as well as the rates and manner in which individuals respond and the divorce.
It acknowledges the general evidence to the fact that the dissolution of a marriage has the capacity to cause heavy turmoil and suffering to both parties as well as all interested parties. In the same measure the manner in which people receive and appreciate the information differs depending on their gender age and status in society.
The reaction to these events has often been connected and associated with distress and depression among children and adults alike. It has been found to affect an individual’s objectivity and sense of purpose causing tantrums of depression or disorientation.
It on the other hand stands to benefit certain individuals in society who gain either monetarily or emotionally from the release of the institution of marriage. Those who suffer often incur lifelong bruises from which they have trouble recovering from. These come in the form of depression distress that often drags down the individual through their future relationships.
The article provides background of the divorce stress adjustment perspective by proposing two contrary models. The crisis model explains those negative aspects of the divorce whose consequences most people adjust and come to terms with over time.
The model therefore implies that disturbance issues such as the individuals personal recourses and means contribute heavily to the rate at which an individual comes to terms and accepts the divorce. However, these are material aspects which only take time and work to recover from. Most people get by and make it back to their pre- divorce status.
The second model which is the more serious of the two embraces the emotional and psychological aspects of the divorce. It acknowledges that the consequences of a divorce translate to constant attain and economic hardships loneliness and an overload of responsibilities in the case of a single parent.
These problems are of a recurrent nature and therefore cannot be easily eliminated or over come. It is therefore upon the individual to adjust and come to terms with these aspects of the divorce. The model suggests that personal resources and means determine the level of distress experiences by the individual but the y hardly or never recover from the effects of the strain and can never return to their pre divorce status.
The study acknowledges the existing evidence of a difference between eh welfare off married and divorced individuals in as far as psychological and emotional affairs are concerned.
The divorced spouses have been found to have lesser happiness lower self concepts and a poorer psychological attitude. As compared to married individuals the divorced individuals were found to have more health complications and a higher mortality rate. The research also establishes a higher probability of distress and depression among women as compared to men.
The situation however depends on the age of the person. The rates of depression among young women are lesser than that of elderly women. Among men the probability of depression is relatively the same. The rates of depression were even higher among women with children due to the burden of parenthood. The rate of depression increases with the number of dependent children.
The study concludes that an analysis of the divorce rates in the 190s discloses that the effects of divorce in as far as depression is concerned are higher among the women. It acknowledges that these statistics were variable since the divorce stress adjustment approach only considers the negative aspects of the divorce.
Ross C. and Mirowsky J. (1999) Parental Divorce, Life-Course Disruption, and Adult Depression Journal of Marriage and Family Vol. 61, No. 4, pp. 1034-1045
The article interrogates the relationship between depression and childhood parental divorce. It seeks to respond to the rising depression , through telephone interviews .parental divorce has various far reaching effects such as disruption of the life course leading to long-term consequences for the well being of the adult twofold ,
First and foremost, there is the problem of lowered social and economic status and interpersonal relationship problems .In order to manifest in a more clear form, a sharp contrast is made of the individuals who were privileged not to undergo childhood parental divorce and had their parents to grow with them , the contrast brings out the marked differences such as, lower levels of education among victims of childhood divorces, occupational status and income .they also experience high rates of economic inconsistencies.
This aspect affect the women more that the men since the traditional marriage setup has the man earning more than the woman and this creates a disadvantage for the divorcee woman. The situation is even worse if the couple has children since the woman legally with a few exceptions gets the custody of the children.
Through telephone based interviews of 2592 adults randomly selected from the nation the research enquires into the relevance effects and consequences of divorce to both the couple and the children alike. This survey was however limited to 1995 and compared the results from the survey with the statistics from children who grew up with both parents.
The shortage in means and recourses implied that adults from divorced families had higher rates of depression as compared to children from married families.
The survey discloses that men and women from divorced families due to their lower educational qualifications as well as poorer economic status end up marrying while still at a younger age and most likely end up in divorce then remarrying several other times and generally find themselves in depression or in unhappy families.
The situation in men who are raised from divorced families is similar to that of women only that in women, the adult female who marries young and gets divorced finds themselves pregnant and therefore has a slim chance at remarriage.
They therefore opt to raise their children as single parents in a manner similar to their parents. They lead unhappy relationships that are full of depression and unhappiness which is then passed on to their children. Those who remarry stay for shorter periods in their second marriage and even less in third and consequent marriages.
The men on the other hand have a greater chance of remarriage. They enter into the second marriage with a high sense of distrust that leads to unhappiness and depression that weighs down heavily on the relationship leading to depression. The second marriage is therefore considered as a safety net for their unhappiness and frustration.
These associations are further complicated by the lack of economic and social support and therefore depend on how the person adjusts for sex, minority status, age parental death and parental education. The disadvantage caused by the social economic and interpersonal shortfall is the main association between divorce and consequent adult depression.
In effect more educational options and means are associated with lower levels of depression since there are lesser social economic hardships in the maturity stages of the individual. Lesser educational qualifications lead to more economic and social hardships that translate to more chances at depression alongside other social economic and interpersonal problems.
Booth A and Amato P. (1991) Divorce and Psychological Stress Journal of Health and Social Behavior Vol. 32, No. 4, pp. 396-407
A lot of research ink has been spent on the issue of adjustment to divorce. The provides an adequate background of these researches that suggest that the concept of adjustment is a theory of divorce that conceives the disruption of a marriage as a crisis which at eh beginning leads to low psychological stress at the beginning and then gradually increases in the magnitude of depression as the couples adjust to the new status.
The article takes into consideration the practicability and suitability of the crisis model as well as its suitability as a methodology of understanding divorce.
It also goes on to interrogate the structural and procedural difficulties experienced and found in previous studies concerning couples ability to adjust to divorce. It makes a three year gaps between the first interview and the second and a five year gap between the second and third interview.
An initial analysis of the marriage divorce statics that would form the foundation of the research disclosed that the crisis mode appropriately interprets ad defines the concept of divorce. It was found to explain all the consistencies and in consistencies in the marriage data in that year. From the model, there was a characteristic rise in the pre divorce levels of stress as compared to the stress levels of married persons.
This level then normalizes to a comparable level and is almost even lower than that of married individuals. There is no certain proof of stress being the cause of divorce and no such conclusion was deduced for the observations and statistic. This therefore implied that divorce was not in any way a means of alleviating the levels of stress neither was it an alternative to a stressful marriage.
After a period of three years the second interview disclosed that there was a great connection between the level of stress experienced by the couple during their first two years of marriage and the pre divorce resources, wealth, property and social status.
Individuals who had financial difficulty in the marriage and before the divorce, experience greater amounted o stress as compared to those who had financial stability.
Those with better access to means and opportunity as well as social economic and relational support experienced lower levels of depression and stress. The gap between these two categories is significantly large and creates a dependency relationship between the access to resources and means and the levels of stress and unhappiness.
Individual who have little regard for the morality of divorce on the other hand experienced even higher levels of stress due to the lack of a stable conviction. The eight year longitudinal study of 2033 married persons of 55 years in age provided a 65 percent completion rate.
The remaining 35 percent either refused to complete the research or could not be reasonably reached. The second interviews received a completion rate of 78 percent of the original sample of 2033 while the third and final re interview saw a 66 percent attendance ratio.
The data is presented in graphical form to reflect the levels of unhappiness before end after the divorce among the married throughout the 8 years the divorced between the first three years and the divorced between the third and eighth year. The general trend in happiness tends to deteriorate while the trend in depression increases at an increasing rate then decreases at a decreasing rate.
Aseltine H. and Kessler C. (1993) Marital Disruption and Depression in a Community Sample. Journal of Health and Social Behavior Vol. 34, No. 3, pp. 237-251
The connection between marital interruption and breakdown and the mental health of an individual has been the center of constant attention for many 20th century researcher s. undeniably, before the onset of the century there was little or no attention given to the topic due to its marginal relevance in the social context.
This article falls in the same line of thought by attempting to cover all the loose ends that have been left by other researchers. The study addresses the procedural concern in previous researches that made fundamental errors in the cross- sectional approach to the selection of the determinants of marital disruption which could be connected to the mental health of an individual.
It also proposes to shift the attention from the longitudinal method of introducing a control simple into0 the investigation of the cause’s f marital disruption. In effect the study avoids the obvious bias het is caused by the separating of a sample of currently divorced or separated individuals and the chances of remarriage.
The previous studies have been seen to focus only on the best adjusted persons in the society giving an inference that the remarriage as little or no effect on the welfare of the individual concerned. This in effect can be said to exaggerate the effects of divorce and marital disruption therefore leading to inaccurate or generalized conclusions.
This study therefore interrogates the possibility that marital disruption and divorce has in weakening the individual and increasing their vulnerability to secondary role stress and depression. The study acknowledges the existing evidence that suggests a motivational analysis theory.
This theory puts the claim that married individuals have lower stress levels due to their fairly stable financial and social as well as interpersonal relational capacities. They therefore go through lesser hardships and therefore have lesser worries that lead to depression. The unmarried individuals on the other hand have a high level of depression that stems from the situational related stresses that are motive resilient proximity to stress.
The research therefore fills the previous evidential gaps by conducting a two stage community based survey of married couples. The study is assigns an initial probability sample that is interviewed at the beginning of 1985on couples whose ages fall between the ages of 18 and 65 and residing in a specific area of jurisdiction.
This received a response rate of up to 76 percent in the first interview leaving a margin for those who refused to be interviewed. The second interview received a response rate of 84 percent. The study also employs a longitudinal analysis strategy in evaluating and distinguishing the levels of depression that occurred before during and after the divorce.
The study also combines the remarried and currently divorced individuals to avoid bias. Instead of using data from unmarried individuals the research employs a baseline collection of data on marital quality to verify the claim that the alternative does a divorce in a bad marriage is a cause of relief rather than stress.
The results of the study indicate that there was an aggregate relationship the pronounced levels of depression among women as compared to men. Despite the small nature of the sample size it is clear that there is a greater proximity towards depression among women than the case would be for men. There is however limited proof for this claim and the study recommends further interrogation of is aspect of the concept of divorce.
Menaghan, G. and Lieberman A. (1999), Changes in Depression following Divorce: A Panel Study. Journal of Marriage and Family Vol. 48, No. 2 pp. 319-328
This paper interrogates the connection between the marital sates of an individual and their well being. It acknowledges the existing statistics on the topic of marriage and the psychological health of the individual but proceeds to analyze the impact of the change in the marital status of an individual on their levels of depression. It engages data from the metropolitan Chicago to examine the changes in the psychological health in a group of adults for a four year gap between he first and second interview.
It provides an adequate background of the existing evidence on the chances of divorce and success of a marriage indicating that the majority of first marriages are bound to fail and end up in divorce. Half the women who fall form the first marriage remarry and majority of the men from the first marriage also remarry within a three year period of their divorce decree.
From a general social perspective, these individuals have a higher chance of being depressed as compared to other members of the society. Most studies are acknowledged t o have focused their attention on the life event of divorce alone taking keen interest on investigating the impact of stressful life events on an individual.
Divorce has therefore been perceived as a multi loss event that affects the individual’s involved social economic and interpersonal status and capacities. N effect the loss of a partner is it the husband or wife can be argued t affect different individuals in different manners. This greatly depends on the social characteristics of the community and environment around the individual.
Divorce ids therefore received differently across the age divide with the elderly divorcees being more optimistic than frustrated that the younger divorcees. Divorce often leads to economic change and loss and the hardship is even greater if there are children involved. It is also a benchmark and flag for the termination of intimate interpersonal relations that otherwise exist between the spouses.
In the alternative approach there is evidence to support the claim that divorcees have been found to be happier after divorce and less likely to be depressed than they would have been while in the marriage.
In effect there are certain pertinent gains that arise from a divorce in the form of independence, freedom and self government as well as an opportunity to make a fresh start. This therefore suggests that they are two main hypotheses to the possibility of depression after divorce.
The research responds to these hypotheses by examining an initial sample of 2299 households that had 1106 adults between the ages of 18 and 65. These were interviewed on the various aspects of their marriage and then re interviewed after four years of the marriage. The samples individuals are compared with those recently divorced in as far as depression and unhappiness is concerned.
At first those in a divorce seem to lead a better and happier life at the beginning of the study. Four years later however, the divorced individuals suffer more depression than those who remained married. This depression is further motivated by increased economic hardships that arise due to the changes in economic status.
The hardship was greater in households that have children and the women were responsible for the care and maintenance of the children. The divorced individuals also show a significant level of depression that is characterized by the dependency of the wife or partner for alimony. Most of these men however often found themselves in constant court battles for default of payment of alimony.
This therefore concludes that the rising number of divorce is a major cause of depression in the society. The change in economic social and relation status of individuals in the society causes even further trouble and increases the level of depressing. The society therefore needs to recognize the need to control and mitigate the number of divorces if the rates of depression are to be controlled.
This research is captures the varying consequences and effects of divorce on women and men. It therefore represents the interests of victims of adult victims of divorce and how they respond and adapt to the situation. Divorce has far reaching effects on spouses and their families alike.
It concerns both the family and friends to the divorced couple as well as any children who stand to benefit from the marriage or loose from the divorce. There is evidence to support the suggestion that divorce has dire consequences on the livelihood growth and development of adolescents and teenagers.
It is clear that children from divorced families suffer substantial inferiorities that often translate to weaknesses in both social economic and interpersonal relationships among themselves and their peers.
To the parties to the divorce the situational and status change often leads to a shift in responsibility economic and social status. The far reaching effects of divorce often cause unhappiness and depression among the souses that is passed on to the second and subsequent marriage.
Most societies embrace the institution of marriage from the family level. The parents of the spouses are therefore involved in the management and running of the marriage. A breakdown in this common enterprise has varying effects on them and causes mixed reactions including depression and discomfort. The effects of divorce therefore affect the lives of the parents to the spouses due it their interests in the success and survival of the marriage.
Marriage is a social and societal construct that is created by society with an objective of maintaining continuity and growth in social relations. The success or otherwise of this institution therefore affects the societal perception of marriage and the likelihood of members of such a society aspires to enter into similar relations.
The effects of divorce on either gender therefore act to deter or motivate individuals in society into or against marriage. It also motivates or de-motivates individuals in existing marriage institutions towards or against divorce. The easier it is to come to terms with the effects of a divorce the easier it is for couples in marriages to consider divorce as an option.
Potential ethical issues
Undeniably there exists a wide variety of resources that address a related or similar concern. In fact there is evidence to suggest that the effects of divorce in men are lower than the effects in women. This therefore presents the concern that the sis a duplication f previous studies. However, all previous studies have interrogated the effects of divorce from a crisis theory perspective.
They have tended to lean on the negative aspects and effects of divorce leaving out the benefits that may actually accrue to the individual in as far as depression is concerned. The depressive consequences of a divorce for instance in a bad marriage are entirely different from the effect it has on a good marriage.
The study will also encounter procedural concerns since like most of previous researches it employs the divorce adjustment theory as the methodological approach to interpreting and measuring the consequences and effects of divorce.
This approach presents structural and analytical issues of bias that streak form the lack of consideration of the relevance of remarriage. The study will however employ the multiple strategy approach that will allow the remarried individuals to be analyzed and categorized in with those who are currently divorced.
The sampling will also be limited in terms of jurisdiction since it will only consider individual from a single racial origin. This therefore limits the relevance and application of the results of the study in as far as its application and implementation is concerned.
The discussion and implementation will however incorporate the application and contribution of previous researches to the current research ad the relevance and input they make to the current study. The study will also obtain authorization from the ethics committee for better confidence and higher response from the interviewees
Sampling technique and strategy.
A sample is a representative fraction of a large population that is intended to present a framework of the larger population in reference to specific traits and attributes.
The sample in the population will be collected form longitudinal based community data that is to be generated strictly from an epidemiological catchment area program that draws respondents from individuals between18 and 70 years in age. These respondents will be then invited for voluntary tests for depression that will be structured badly formulated in the form of the national institute of mental health diagnostics interviews schedule.
The number of patients to participate in the research will then be invited to private interviews that will be conducted at their convenience on specific days of the week that will be arranged and communicated to them through notices and flyers.
It is important that a sample represents in as far as possible the population size. This is because the sample is expected to portray a representation of the actual character and property of the greater population.
The data set in the research is too large and therefore it is quite impossible to obtain a homogenous sample from the larger population. A homogenous sample represents all the interests in the population including the minority. The accuracy of the sample will be evaluated on the basis of consistency in the results produced by different sample sizes.
It is important to understand the potential or possible shortcomings of a population before engaging in sampling. There is therefore a possibility of interference from foreign units that are not part of the target population.
These include adults who lead celibate lives and do not have an intention of getting married and therefore will have little or no relevance in the study. The initial invitation to the interviews will therefore embrace this problem by indicating to the population the objectives and intentions of the study and research.
The size of the population that is willing to participate in the research will be used to determine the size of the sample that will be used in the research. Out of those who are willing, a manageable randomized sample will be selected for interviews. The controlled number also allows the research to be more focused and intensive.
The nature of the research requires a controlled number for observation. Since the object of observation is the depressive consequences and effects of divorce on divorcee men and women, it is important to ensure that the sample is as diverse and representative of the larger population as possible.
The probability sampling method utilizes the random selection approach. A simple random sample will provide an adequate randomized controlled trial of 409 men and women, regions and societal confines. They are then to be randomly assigned to the national institute of mental health diagnostics program to evaluate the changes and history in as far as depression is concerned
Stratified random sampling allows the researcher to divide the population into homogenous subgroups upon which simple random samples are drawn from the sub groups. The sample is drawn through a randomization process that involves the stratification of the population by gender into two main strata of male and female respondents.
Before the study is begun, a stratum of sequential identification numbers will be generated and randomly re assigned to intervention categories in blocks with each block having a participant category and control category. The control category will contain individuals with no history of divorce.
The total sample results of the trial population must take a stand in as far as providing a concrete decision as to the effects of divorce in men and women.
The sample size will therefore be an odd number to avoid a standoff where results are equal and therefore no defensible result. 409 patients is an adequate number that will allow for an equal selection of 200 patients from the ethnic strata as well as the economic status. Each stratum will also allow for an equal participant and control selection sample.
The justification behind the adoption of the stratified sampling method is the fact that it will not only be able to represent the overall population but also the key subcategories within the population.
This method is specifically important and relevant in representing minority characteristics within the population. It is therefore possible to analyze the effects of divorce to specific ages of women and men.
Extremely small groups can be effectively randomly oversampled through the use of different factions within the different strata. Alternatively if the minority groups have equal magnitude then equal or proportionate stratified random sampling could be used as opposed to disproportionate stratified random sampling
Method of data analysis
The interviews will be tape recorded to facilitate analyze. The recordings are then transcribed into written records that are then compared with original recordings to ensure that they correspond to the actual record of the recordings.
The observations made are collected in written journals and brief notes that are developed into more detailed accounts at the first available opportunity (The MaGPIe Research Group 2003 p,1–15). The data is then physically coded into graphs and tables that are informs by the analytical hierarchy model
The semi structured interviews will engage the interviewees into an interactive e session of a series of both structures and semi structured questions that are developed and directed towards establishing the margin of difference in the effects and consequences of divorce on the individual strata.
Throughout the data collection and recording the records and transcribes will be reviewed to establish and identify any emerging themes and concepts that are then clarified in subsequent interviews and observations. This will also allow for follow-up interviews (Menaghan and Lieberman 1999, pp. 319-328).
Conclusions and recommendations.
However, there is overwhelming knowledge on the effects and consequences of divorce there is a need to shift the attention from the generalized approach that focuses the depressive effect of divorce on the general population. It is clear that there are pertinent differences in the effects and consequences of divorce on the different genders.
This will go an extra mile in motivating the mitigating factors that that is to be adopted in regulating and providing assistance to the victims of divorce.
The attention should therefore be narrowed down to the individuals by their sex. The legal framework places a heavier burden of responsibility on the women after divorce and therefore requires more attention.
This research focuses mainly on the marriages that have been formalized and registered. However there is evidence to support the claim that majority of single parents do not hail from marriages but form cohabitating and arrangements similar to marriages. There is therefore little information to support or dispute the cross gender effects dissolution of these arrangements and therefore leaves a research gap for further investigation.
These arrangements have become very common in the modern day marriage institution and studies suggest that every one in four children are born out of these cohabiting relationships. It is therefore more than likely that the termination of cohabiting relationships has disastrous and depressing effects on both men and women.
Similarly the research limits the effects on divorce alone yet there are numerous other sources of depression related to man woman relations similar to marriage.
Different racial divides have their own child bearing unions that are traditionally meant to replace the marriage institution. The breaking of these arrangements for instance in the African setup has similar depressing consequences in both men and women posing a great research gasp that needs to be investigated.
Finally there has been little focus on the intervention measures for divorce parents and victims. There has been little research on the success or otherwise of the available intervention and mediation measures for divorce and divorce victims. The relevance or otherwise of these measures to either men or women in relation to their diverse adaptations to divorce still remains uninvestigated.
In conclusion, divorce has existed for a long time and it continues to be a prevalent cause of depression among men and women. The debate has focused mainly on the general negative and positive effect of divorce to both men and women. It is however clear that there is a need to differentiate the effect that divorce has on women as distinct from the effect it has on men.
Allison, P. (2001). Missing Data. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications
Amato, P. (2000).The Consequences of Divorce for Adults and ChildrenJournal of Marriage and Family Volume 62, Issue 4, p 1269–1287,
Aseltine, H., and Kessler C. (1993). Marital Disruption and Depression in a Community Sample.Journal of Health and Social Behavior Vol. 34, No. 3, pp. 237-251
Booth, A and Amato, P. (1991). Divorce and Psychological Stress Journal of Health and Social Behavior Vol. 32, No. 4, pp. 396-407
Menaghan, G. and Lieberman A. (1999). Changes in Depression following Divorce: A Panel Study. Journal of Marriage and Family Vol. 48, No. 2 pp. 319-328
Ross, C. and Mirowsky, J. (1999). Parental Divorce, Life-Course Disruption, and Adult Depression Journal of Marriage and Family Vol. 61, No. 4, pp. 1034-1045
Sanderson, K. (2002). Prevalence and severity of mental health-related disability and relationship to diagnosis. Psychiatr Serv 53(1):80–86
The MaGPIe Research Group. (2003). The nature and prevalence of psychological problems in New Zealand primary health care: a report on Mental Health and General Practice Investigation. NZMJ 116(1171):1–15