Student Research Projects

Depression, Stress, Anxiety and Resiliency in Children of Divorce as Young Adults

Student Jordan Stellmacher ‘15 (Psychology)
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Psychology
Course Psychology 480: Original Research Project


Although divorce has become much more common, it is still a life-changing experience. When a child goes through divorce, there are concerns for his or her well-being afterwards (Amato & Keith, 1991; Clark, 2013). Levels of stress, anxiety, and depression are some of those concerns. Another interesting factor is resilience; this personality trait is a good quality to have when attempting to adjust to a significant life change. This study examines whether divorced/separated parents contributes to higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression in adult children. Resiliency was also studied to see the relationship it had with marital status. Participants had an average age of 21.15, a minimum age at 18, and a maximum age at 57. Results showed that there was no significant difference based on marital status relating to stress, anxiety, depression and resiliency. A correlation test was between the dependent variables (anxiety, depression, stress, and resiliency), and the results were all significant. Resiliency (in two different scales) was negatively correlated with depression, anxiety, and stress, but depression was positively correlated with stress and anxiety. This discovery helps to support the idea that research should focus more on the amount of conflict in a parental relationship and how that affects children, rather than the type of marital status (i.e. separated, married, divorced). The current study also highlights that not all adult children are affected negatively by parental separation/divorce; some are able to live healthy lives after a parental separation/divorce.


Presented at the Virginia Psychological Association Conference in Virginia Beach, VA, April 2015.