Impact of Divorce on Children: Does Biological versus Adopted Make a Difference?

impact-of-divorceIf you have children and have experienced the trials and tribulations often associated with a child’s adjustment to the changes of the nuclear family, the Social, Genetic, and Developmental Psychiatry Research Center, Institute of Psychiatry, London, United Kingdom recently assessed the effects of divorce on both biological and adopted children.

The study findings, as published by the U.S. Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health (NCBI) took a closer look at the psychological impact of divorce on adopted children in contrast to the effects of the process on biological children. The results strongly suggest that a child’s adjustment and behaviors may often be mediated by genetic disposition.

This hypothesis, also studied on this shore of the pond by the Colorado Adoption Project (CAP), examined the direct correlation of genetics versus non-biological structure as to how a child will react to parental divorce as well as the lingering psychological effects.

CAP, housed at the University Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado, an on-going research program, also dedicated to the assessment of cognitive, social, and behavioral aspects of both biological and adopted children recently tested the London based hypothesis by positioning a longitudinal study. The program polled 398 biological and adoptive families with results suggesting that biological children who experienced parental divorce by 12 years of age often presented with higher rates of behavioral and substance abuse related programs. This test group also presented with lower levels of achievement and a lesser degree of healthy social relationships.

For those non-biological or adoptive study participants, similarly the children also experienced a spike in behavioral problems and substance abuse, but there was no correlation to support that these children experienced problems with achievement and social interactions among peers.

As supported by both continental studies, findings remain consistent as an environmentally mediated explanation of the impact of divorce on both biological and adopted children but in contrast, both studies demonstrate a genetically mediated explanation or genotype correlation.

If you are contemplating divorce, no doubt, whether brought into the family biologically or through adoptive services, the well-being of your child remains a primary concern. The skilled Hinsdale family law attorneys of Martoccio & Martoccio can ensure that you and your child’s rights remain protected under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Marriage Act (750 ILCS5). Contact us today at 630-920-8855 to discuss your legal concerns.


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