Medical Branch Clinic, Naval Hospital, Jacksonville, Fla.

J Am Board Fam Med. 2001;14(3) 

In This Article


Among the most universal and devastating effects of divorce on children is the accompanying loss of support. Unlike other family crises, such as illness or death, support systems tend to withdraw. Family friends and even family members tend to pull back to avoid contact that can become increasingly uncomfortable as the divorce progresses. Some will side with one parent or the other, while many keep a polite distance in a show of neutrality that might or might not be genuine.

Children are very lonely. They cannot rely on parents who are caught up in their own tumult of divorce. Few children of divorce have found any other adults to help or guide them, and less than 10% had any adult even speak to them sympathetically as the divorce unfolded.[3] Friends were the most frequent source of support, then parents, other relatives, and siblings. A simple query or kind encouragement might seem superficial, but it often represents more than what these children receive from others.


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