Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Open Access Thesis




Studies between parental divorce and children’s educational attainment have been extensively observed in family research. However, few studies have attempted to examine the negative relationship of those associations with graduate level attainment. This study suggests that parental divorce is associated with diminished overall mental health (i.e., depressive symptoms) in children, and that this decrease may help explain the connection between parental divorce and lower graduate level academic attainment. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97), a nationally representative sample of nearly 9,000 individuals interviewed, this study outlines hypotheses that link parental divorce, mental health, and graduate level academic success among children. The results suggest children of divorce are less likely to attain a graduate degree and are slightly more likely to have depressive symptoms than children from continuously married parents. There were no significant mediating effects regarding parental divorce and children’s higher degree acquisition. The findings imply that the negative effects of divorce may persist past the college years, but that mental health/emotional resources do not seem to help us understand the relationship between divorce and the highest levels of educational attainment.

Included in

Sociology Commons