Teenage boys more likely to struggle with parental separation, study finds

Sydney Morning Herald 26 May 2011

Teenage boys tend to have a harder time than girls in adjusting to their parents’ separation, and are more likely to want them to re-unite, a study shows. More boys than girls surveyed felt it would have been better if their parents had stayed together. The study, Views of Adolescents in Separated Families, released yesterday by the federal Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, is based on 623 teenagers aged 12 to 18 whose parents separated between July 2006 and September 2008.

Undertaken by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, it sheds light on adolescents’ adjustment after parental separation in the aftermath of the 2006 family law reforms. The research shows no single post-separation living arrangement was in the best interests of all children. Whether the teenagers lived mainly with their mother, or father, or in shared care was less important to their psychological health, school performance and social relationships than other factors. ”Regardless of care arrangements, if they have a really strong warm relationship with one parent, they’re more likely to be coping OK,” said Jodie Lodge, a research fellow at the Australian Institute of Family Studies, and the study co-author. An absence of conflict between their parents was also significant for their adjustment