Divorce and child behavior problems: Applying latent change score models to life event data.
Malone, P. S., Lansford, J. E., Castellino, D. R., Berlin, L. J., Dodge, K. A., Bates, J. E., & Pettit, G. S. (2004). Divorce and child behavior problems: Applying latent change score models to life event data. Structural Equation Modeling, 11, 401-423.
Abstract: Effects of parents' divorce on children's adjustment have been studied extensively. This article applies new advances in trajectory modeling to the problem of disentangling the effects of divorce on children's adjustment from related factors such as the child's age at the time of divorce and the child's gender. Latent change score models were used to examine trajectories of externalizing behavior problems in relation to children's experience of their parents' divorce. Participants included 356 boys and girls whose biological parents were married at kindergarten entry. The children were assessed annually through Grade 9. Mothers reported whether they had divorced or separated in each 12-month period, and teachers reported children's externalizing behavior problems each year. Girls' externalizing behavior problem trajectories were not affected by experiencing their parents' divorce, regardless of the timing of the divorce. In contrast, boys who were in elementary school when their parents divorced showed an increase in externalizing behavior problems in the year of the divorce. This increase persisted in the years following the divorce. Boys who were in middle school when their parents divorced showed an increase in externalizing behavior problems in the year of the divorce followed by a decrease to below baseline levels in the year after the divorce. This decrease persisted in the following years.