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9 Va. J. Soc. Pol'y & L. 71 (2001-2002)
Good Enough Marriages: Parental Discord, Divorce, and Children's Long-Term Well-Being

handle is hein.journals/vajsplw9 and id is 81 raw text is: GOOD ENOUGH MARRIAGES:

Paul R. Amato*
Children's adjustment to divorce depends upon the
level of discord between parents prior to disruption. When
discord is high, divorce appears to benefit children, but
when discord is low, divorce appears to harm children.
Low discord marriages that end in divorce represent good
enough marriages from a child's perspective. Because
relations between spouses in these marriages are generally
positive, the potential for reconciliation is considerable.
Attempts should be made to screen these couples prior to
marital dissolution and provide appropriate educational and
support services.
Should parents stay together for the sake of their
children? A recent book by psychologist Judith Wallerstein
argues that many parents should.' The news coverage of
the Wallerstein book has been impressive, with major
stories in Newsweek, Time, U.S. News and World Report,
the New York Times, the L.A. Times, and most other major
newspapers in the United States.2 The ubiquitous media
attention indicates that this question is not only of interest
Professor of Sociology, The Pennsylvania State University. I thank
my collaborators on the Marital Instability Over the Life Course Study,
Alan Booth and David Johnson.
1 Judith S. Wallerstein et al., The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25
Year Landmark Study 307 (2000).
2 Barbara Kantrowitz, Echoes of Breakup, Newsweek, Sept. 4, 2000, at
48; Walter Kim, Should You Stay Together For the Kids?, Time, Sept.
25, 2000, at 74; John Leo, The Sleeper Effect, U.S. News & World
Rep., Oct. 2, 2000, at 18; Margaret Talbot, The Price of Divorce, N.Y.
Times, Oct. 1, 2000, § 7, at 10; Valerie H. Colb, Coming Apart, L.A.
Times, Sept. 24, 2000, at 7.

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