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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
The Virginia Longitudinal Study of Divorce, the most comprehensive study of the subject ever undertaken, was initially intended only to study "how seventy-two preschool children and their families adapted to divorce at two months, one year, and two years." What author and psychologist E. Mavis Hetherington didn't foresee at the time was that she would soon be studying a "moving target," as members of her initial group began remarrying, becoming stepparents, and, in some cases, getting divorced once again. She decided to seize this opportunity and expand her initial vision. She would now be tracking more than 1,400 families and charting their "postnuclear pathways" as they took shape over the course of 30 years.
Taking on the phenomenon of divorce with this new perspective has led to groundbreaking insights that often challenge previously held views about the effects of divorce, such as those presented in Judith Wallerstein's influential The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce. Is it true, as thought, that children of divorce experience long-term damaging effects on their ability to lead successful and satisfying adult lives? Are their marriages also doomed to fail as their parents' have? Is divorce, in the end, truly a no-win situation for all involved? Will good fathers continue to be good fathers after divorce? The findings in this study might surprise you.
The book's three sections cover the experience of divorce and its effects on children and adults in the first 6 years, then after 11 years, and, finally, 20 years later. Among the many topics covered are the following:
- The five types of marriages and which carry the highest risk of failure
- The main factors that contribute to leading a successful, engaged life after divorce
- The five ways men and women leave a marriage
- Parenting styles that help or hurt a child's passageway through divorce
- Why second marriages succeed or fail
- The building blocks of a stepfamily
- What makes children of divorce more vulnerable to marital failure in their own lives