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The Effect of Divorce on Sons Aggression

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    The divorce rate has dramatically and progressively increased in recent years (Bridgeman & Alvon, 1991; Lowen & Mill, 1998). Many literatures have cited the varied effects of divorce on children. The most significant findings are affective (Carry, 1989) and behavioral (Wright, 1984) disturbances. Particularly, boys have been observed to be prone to anger (Pieri, 1985). Wilson and Ruth (1985) have speculated that the increase of behavior disorders and juvenile delinquency can be attributed, in part, to the increasing divorce rate. In their study of 300 juvenile delinquent boys, Cook and Turner (1978) noted a divorce rate among parents that was significantly higher than in a non-delinquent group of comparable age and socio-economic status. Absenteeism and referrals for disciplinary action were more frequent in a sample of Minnesota junior high school students whose parent were divorced than in a sample of students from unbroken families. (Zuk, 1987)

    Clinical theorists have presented a convincing rationale for these findings. Pieri (1985) has pointed out that the breakdown of the nuclear family and, as is typical, the departure of the father from the family, leads to anger stemming from the change in family status, disruption of secure routines, blame casting, depression, and economic stresses. Boys, who are apt to be more closely identified with the father, are more likely to display anger in the form of aggressive acting-out behavior (Wright, 1984).

    It is important that these clinical observations and theoretical formulations are subjected to more rigorous scientific assessment. The purpose of this study is to test the hypothesis that boys of divorced parents are prone to anger, thereby providing research support for existing theoretical formulations. This investigation aims to offer experimental confirmation of the idea that anger is a distinguishing characteristic of boys of divorced parents.

    Reference

    1. Bridgeman, W. N., & Alvon, K. C. (1991). Marriage and divorce. Family Studies, 16, 133-150.
    2. Lowen, B. G., & Mill, A. (1998). Separation and divorce in contemporary society. Marriage Studies, 5, 145-152.
    3. Carry, L. (1989). The impact of divorce on families. Journal of Psychology, 198, 80-90.
    4. Wright, P. (1984). Behavioral consequences of divorce. Journal of Social Psychiatry, 9, 130-138.
    5. Pieri. T. H. (1985). Sex differences in emotional expression. Journal of Psychology, 175, 81-88.
    6. Wilson, F., & Ruth, K. (1985). Inquiry into the causes of juvenile delinquency. Delinquency Quarterly, 18, 145-156.
    7. Cook. Y. K., & Turner, C. (1978). Abandonment, divorce, and delinquency. Delinquency Quarterly, 5, 15-30.
    8. Zuk, O. (1987). The effect of divorce on school performance. Journal of Childhood Psychology, 6, 290-299.

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