A Profile of Youth and Divorce: Considerations for Parents and Educators Concerning Emotional and Behavioural Fragility and Resiliency
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Within Canada it is becoming increasingly common for children to experience the separation of their parents, an experience always paired with a period of adjustment for both parents and child(ren). This case study explored the behavioural and emotional profiles of a boy from one divorced family. Using an explanatory sequential mixed methods design (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011), the study examined child, parent, and teacher reports of internalizing and externalizing behaviours and explored the degree to which these behaviours were perceived to have increased or decreased following the decision to end the marriage. The integration of both quantitative and qualitative data produced by the Behavior Assessment System for Children, Second Edition (BASC-2), semi-structured interview question, and photovoice , provided a comprehensive view of the externalizing and internalizing behaviours of the youth as he navigated the stressors that accompanied his family post-divorce. Photovoice appeared effective in drawing out the youth particpant’s perspective without the pressures and anxiety that often accompany a formal interview setting between an adult and a youth. This study demonstrated a complex emotional response from a twelve year old boy in relation to his parents’ divorce. This response indicated that many adjustments are expected of children as they navigate the move from a two-parent household to two parents in separate homes. For this child, the changes included loss of a pet, moving multiple times, and developing new ways of coping to deal with the array of emotions that he was experiencing. Educators and parents may benefit from a better understanding of the effects of divorce on the emotions and behaviours of children when contemplating certain behavioural motivations as well as the effectiveness of interventions when behaviour is seen as affecting the overall psychological and academic well-being of the youth. In addition, the methods employed in this study may serve as a foundation on which to develop brief therapy relationships when working within the time constraints of school counseling.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
DepartmentEducational Psychology and Special Education
ProgramSchool and Counselling Psychology
Copyright DateAugust 2012