New study reveals spiritual effects of divorce on children

.- A new book, Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce, chronicles a three year study which found, among other things, that many children of divorced parents experience a profound lack of trust in God and faith in the Church. Elizabeth Marquardt of the Institute for American Values and Professor Norval Glenn of the University of Texas at Austin co-directed the study, which was funded by the Lilly Endowment.

Noting the divorce rate which has skyrocketed in the U.S. over recent decades, Marquardt and Glenn interviewed 70 young adults face-to-face, and compiled telephone surveys of 1,500 young adults--half of whom were raised in divorced families and half from intact families.

The findings were surprising. They report that young people from divorced families “experience a loss of trust that affects their belief in God—making them overall much less religious than their peers from intact families,” although for some, the experience dramatically strengthened their faith.

In addition, many of the young people raised with divorce “often say the church failed them. Of those children of divorce who were regular [attendees] at a place of worship, two-thirds say that no one from the clergy or congregation reached out when their families broke up.”

As a result, a greater percentage of children of divorce claim to be “religious” or attend church than their two-parent counterparts.

Children of divorce are also “much less likely to say their mother and father taught them how to pray and prayed with them – and are much more likely to say they doubt the sincerity of their parents’ religious beliefs, do not share their parents’ values, and to say there are things their parents have done that they find hard to forgive.”

Perhaps most strikingly, the pair found that many “feel pain and loss evoked by the idea of God as a father or parent.”

Marquardt and Glenn cited one child of divorce, who said “when she prayed as a child she thought of it as a letter to God. She exclaimed, ‘But then you kind of wonder about it ’cause they never answer. So that made me wonder—well, I wrote to him. I didn’t get a letter back. That sounds like Dad!’

The study however, was not all negative. Marquardt and Glenn further found that for many of these children, the experience actually strengthened their faith, which gave them something to hang on to.

In fact, thirty-eight percent of young people from divorced families (compared to 22 percent from intact families), say, “I think of God as the loving father or parent I never had in real life.”

Despite this, the authors conclude that there is no such thing as a “good divorce”, and encourage greater compassion toward both the divorced couple and their children. 

The book is now available through Crown Publishers for $24.95.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 18, 2014

Friday of the Passion of the Lord (Good Friday)

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 18:1 - 19:42


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Is 52:13-53:12
Second Reading:: Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Gospel:: Jn 18:1-19:42

Homily of the Day

Jn 18:1 - 19:42


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: