Divorce may impact child’s social skills, scores

As if splitting up a marriage didn’t cause enough problems, new research suggests that young children of divorce are more likely to suffer from setbacks in social skills and have lower math scores, according to USA Today.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, found that children do not fall behind their peers in this area until after the split, and not during the potentially tumultuous period proceeding it.

“From the divorce stage onward, however, children of divorce lag behind in math test scores and interpersonal social skills,” Hyun Sik Kim, the author of the study, told the newspaper.

Kim said the fallout from a divorce may affect a child’s development if they are stressed by child custody conflicts or exposed to an ongoing parental “blame game.” Kim also said changing schools or being exposed to parents’ divorce-related depression could also impact their development, reported the news source.

While the study found that children’s math test scores tend to decline during the divorce process, their reading scores were unaffected. In addition, while divorce tended to impede a child’s ability to make and keep friends, they were not at a higher risk for externalizing problem behavior such as fighting or getting angry.

College age children of divorce may also be negatively affected by their parents’ split, according to another University of Wisconsin study. In that study, researchers found those children are less likely to receive financial support during college, even if both parents remarried.