Children of Divorce

The Psychological Tasks of the Child
  • Judith S. Wallerstein
Part of the The Springer Series on Stress and Coping book series (SSSO)


Divorce represents a special kind of stressful experience for the child who has been reared within a two-parent family. The child’s experience in divorce is comparable in several ways to the experience of the child who loses a parent through death or to the child who loses his or her community following a natural disaster. Each of these experiences strikes at and disrupts close family relationships. Each weakens the protection that the nuclear family provides, leaving in its wake a diminished, more vulnerable family structure. Each traces a pattern of time that begins with an acute, time-limited crisis, and is followed by an extended period of disequilibrium which may last several years—or even longer—past the central event. And each introduces a chain of long-lasting changes that are not predictable at the outset and that reach into multiple domains of family life.


Parental Divorce Parental Separation Intact Family Marital Partner Decisive Separation 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judith S. Wallerstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for the Family in TransitionCorte MaderaUSA

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