Item from the Smart Marriages Archive, reproduced in the Divorce Statistics Collection

Divorce Gap Narrows Over Time
Adult Children of Divorced Parents More Likely Than Predecessors to Stay

The Associated Press

CHICAGO (Aug. 12) - Adult children of divorced parents are less likely to
dissolve their own marriages than they were two decades ago, researchers say.

While divorce has become more accepted in American society, the gap in the
divorce rates of adults who were raised in broken homes and those from intact
families has also narrowed, according to a study presented during the
American Sociological Association's annual meeting in Chicago this week.

The research was based on a National Opinion Research Council survey of
21,963 adults that spanned more than 20 years.

In 1973, children of divorce were nearly three times more likely than their
counterparts from intact families to divorce, the study said. By 1996, that
number was down to 50 percent more likely.

Nicholas Wolfinger, a sociologist at the University of Utah who authored the
study, said the trend will probably continue into the next century as the
children of recent divorces grow into adulthood.

''Thirty or 50 years ago divorce was so rare, so unacceptable, that only the
worst marriages broke up,'' Wolfinger said Wednesday. ''Of course, the
children of those marriages carried the experiences of growing up in terrible
family circumstances with them into their own marital relationships.''

Now, couples generally opt for divorce before their children have to witness
the devastation and therefore have the opportunity to have healthier
relationships, he said.

Another factor in the decline is that fewer adult children of divorced
parents are getting married at all, the study found. That is a turnaround
from the mid-70s, when the same group was 36 percent more likely to get
married than children of intact families.

Wolfinger said divorce still has an effect on the next generation's

''I don't think that the divorce rates for people from divorced families and
intact families will ever be the same,'' he said. ''Divorce will always be
hard on kids. It's just not nearly as hard on them as it used to be.''
[see also Marriage and Divorce Stats for Children of Divorce]
AP-NY-08-12-99 0130EDT

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