Intergenerational Solidarity in European Welfare States
Edited by Chiara Saraceno
Chapter 8: The Effects of Separation and Divorce on Parent–Child Relationships in Ten European Countries
8. The eﬀects of separation and divorce on parent–child relationships in ten European countries Matthijs Kalmijn INTRODUCTION Numerous studies have demonstrated a negative long-term eﬀect of divorce on father–child relationships. Compared to married fathers, divorced fathers see their adult children less frequently, receive less instrumental support from them in old age, and their children evaluate the relationship more often as poor (Lye 1996). There are several reasons for this. First, after divorce, mothers usually gain custody which reduces the father’s role in the upbringing of the children (Seltzer 1991). As a result, the father has fewer opportunities to invest in his children and this may have negative eﬀects on what he receives from the children when they are older (Spitze and Logan 1989). Second, divorced fathers may see their adult children less frequently because of sex-role specialisation during marriage. Hence, when gender roles are divided along traditional lines, married men beneﬁt from a wife who takes care of family matters, for instance, by arranging visits from children and buying presents for the children’s birthday (Hagestad 1986; Rosenthal 1985). When men divorce, they not only lose a spouse, they also lose a kinkeeper, which may explain part of the decline in intergenerational contact (Kalmijn 2007). A third possible reason for reduced contact is that divorced fathers may exhibit more behavioural problems. Research has shown that behavioural problems on the part of fathers are often a reason for divorce. Examples are mental health problems, substance abuse...
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