The Impact of Divorce and Separation on Family Relationships


This research aims at understanding the effect of divorce and separation on family relationships. The researcher will employ a random sampling technique to select the participants of the study, and a qualitative research approach to collect the required data.

Six participants, three males and three females, will take part in the study. The participants will be victims of family breakups, and the researcher will use semi-structured interviews to obtain the required information during the interviews. Interview guides will be indispensable, as they will guide the researcher to stick to the themes of study.

Thereafter, the researcher will code and analyze the data using a qualitative approach. Since the research will be addressing very sensitive information, the researcher will have to employ high ethical standards while handling the emotionally and psychologically disturbed parents.


Background information

Divorce and separation has become a tradition in the contemporary world. Spouses barely finish 10 years in marriage before they start having misunderstandings. Women will always blame men, while the men will blame on women for their quarrels.

When the battle becomes unbearable, the spouses resolve in breaking up (Young & Wilmott, 2013). The main challenge arises if the parents have children, as they will always clash on the custodianship issue. The lifestyles after family breakups change, and the children have to adopt new lifestyles with many challenges (Baxter, Weston, & Lixia, 2011).

Statement of the problem

The alarming issue of divorce and separation is somewhat related to the age of marriage. Although 90% of the adults marry before attaining 50 years, 45% of them break up with their spouses before attaining their old ages.

The commonest ways of breaking up are divorce and separation, and the terminated relationships have adverse effects on the wellbeing of the children (Landau & Hissett, 2008). The new ways of life, new friends, and new daily activities that parents adopt after terminating their marriages cause psychological disturbances to the entire family (Coleman & Glenn, 2010).


Null hypothesis: Divorce and separation have no negative effect on family relationships.

Alternative hypothesis: Divorce and separation have negative effects on family relationships.

Research aims/ questions

The main aim of the study is to identify the various challenges that divorced parents encounter, and how the challenges affect family relationships. Indeed, the affected parents must have encountered various difficulties in their marriages before deciding to break up with their partners. To fish out the necessary information, it is necessary to seek answers for the following research questions.

What did the respondents expect of marriage?

  1. What caused the respondents to break up their marriages?
  2. What effect has the breakups had on the parents, children, and the entire family?
  3. How did the breakup affect the respondents’ careers?
  4. How do the respondents perceive marriage, and what do they intend to do in the future?

Research methodology

Research design

The study design will take an Interactive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) approach, which relates to a qualitative research (Spillman, 2014). The IPA design will be indispensable in studying the participants’ insights about family breakups. The approach will enable the researcher to obtain the psychological, ideological, and interpretative ideas of the respondents (Behrens & Liu, 2014).

Sampling procedures

A random sampling technique will be essential in selecting six respondents. To avoid prejudice, three males and three females, who are victims of family breakups, will take part in the study. To ensure location does not influence the life experiences, the researcher will select participants from different locations.

Instruments and procedures of data collection

Semi-structured interviews will be the main data collection instruments. The instruments will be highly beneficial, as they will allow the researcher and the respondents to develop and incorporate new ideas during the interviews (Northcutt & McCoy, 2004).

The interview will seek to find out the major challenges of marriage, the reasons as why the respondents broke up with the spouses, and the challenges the respondents encountered thereafter. The entire procedure will support many themes that are essential in analyzing the effect that family breakups have on family relationships in the contemporary world.

Data processing and analysis

After collecting the required data, the researcher will code and feed it into a computer. Thereafter, the researcher will analyze the data qualitatively without using statistical software. The entire analysis will seek to correlate family breakups to family relationships, and give insightful interpretation of the entire phenomena. Throughout the data analysis exercise, the researcher will employ a clear idiopathic focus.

Ethical issues

The researcher foresees that the amount and quality of data might not be highly reliable as parents might shy away from giving accurate information about their children. To combat this, the researcher will assure the parents of confidentiality and anonymity. Parents will participate in the study voluntarily, and they can withdraw from the study if it causes them to have some psychological distress.

Time schedule

The entire research will take a period of 10 months. During the first three months, the researcher will study the background of the research, formulate the data collection instruments, and identify the participants to take part in the study. In the next four months, the researcher will collect and analyze the data. Thereafter, the researcher will prepare a report and presentation slides for the entire research.


Baxter, J., Weston, R., & Lixia, Q. (2011). Family structure, co-parental relationship quality, post-separation paternal involvement, and children’s emotional wellbeing. Journal of Family Studies, 17(2), 86-109.

Behrens, E. L., & Liu, W. (2014). Review of qualitative strategies for ethno-cultural research. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 20(1), 140-142.

Coleman, L., & Glenn, F. (2010). The varied impact of couple relationship breakdown on children: Implications for practice and policy. Children & Society, 24(3), 238-249.

Landau, J., & Hissett, J. (2008). Mild traumatic brain injury: Impact on identity and ambiguous loss in the family. Families, Systems, & Health, 26(1), 69-85.

Northcutt, N., & McCoy, D. (2004). Interactive qualitative analysis: A systems method for qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Spillman, L. (2014). Mixed methods and the logic of qualitative inference. Qualitative Sociology, 37(2), 189-205.

Young, M., & Wilmott, P. (2013). Family and kinship in East London. London, United Kingdom: Routledge.

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