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New Study: Divorce Affects High School Dropout Rate

Molly B. Kenny
Founder and Principal Divorce Attorney

Posted on Jul 14, 2010

A Seattle divorce lawyer explains the link between divorce and high school dropouts.While one new study on divorce and children found that divorce is better for kids than staying in a high-conflict relationship, another recent study has connected divorce with high rates of school dropouts, especially if a child’s parent goes through more than one divorce.

According to the study, children who deal with any large family change have a higher chance of not finishing high school – and the more family changes that take place, the greater the chances grow. For example, a child whose parents divorce may have a larger chance of dropping out of school, while a child who also faces a death in the family, a remarriage, or another divorce may have even more difficulty finishing school.

The study tracked almost 10,000 children starting in 1984 and ending in 2004. While the majority of couples stayed together, about 1,300 divorced and 172 suffered a death. About 280 families saw two large family changes while about 50 saw three changes. While more than 78 percent of those in two-parent households graduated from high school by age 20, only 60 percent of those who went through a big family change graduated in the same amount of time. The study also concluded that the younger a child is during a divorce, the more they can be affected.

The researches warned against generalizations about divorce, saying that divorce can be a good choice for children, especially when conflict, abuse, or other dysfunctions create an unstable environment for kids.

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