Young Children’S Emotional Well-Being After Parental Divorce: Discrepancies Between “Resilient” and “Vulnerable” Children

  •  Christina Karela    
  •  Konstantinos Petrogiannis    


The study examined young (4 to 7 years old) children’s resilience under the stressors of parental divorce. Resilience was indirectly inferred based on constructs such as attention, emotional and behavioral regulation, ability to take initiatives, positive relationships with others and parents’ sensitive response to child’s needs. It was conducted with a representative sample of 130 divorced parents from different regions in Greece. Based on parents’ perception concerning the level of competence and adversity that children had faced due to divorce the sample was divided into two groups (a) those families who considered the child of reference as more ‘vulnerable’ (38.5%,) and those who considered the child as more ‘resilient’(61.5%). Data showed that children who were considered as adaptive to divorce stressors exhibited more positive outcomes compared to children who considered by their parents as at risk. The gender of the child did not interact with the experience of transition with respect of the wellness components. This study also considered the possible discrepancies between the two groups of children in some factors that have been related to children’s well-being after divorce. Thus, another important finding revealed that the parents of the ‘more resilient’ children experienced less parental stress, had more supportive relationships with their ex-spouses, felt more satisfied with their lives and quarreled less with their children. In agreement with previous studies this paper underlined the necessity of studying divorce under the concept of resilience rather than the risk, shedding light on some of the critical protective factors.

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