Impact of family breakdown on children's well-being: evidence review

This review investigates the impact of parental separation and divorce on children’s well-being and development. The review incorporates evidence concerning family breakdown, and its consequences, in the context of understandings of ‘the family’, ‘breakdown’ and the ‘well-being’ of children and young people, and includes research relating to both married and cohabiting parents. ‘Well-being’ is defined as incorporating children’s mental, emotional and physical health.

The report is structured as follows. Section 2 considers the impact of family breakdown on children’s development and wellbeing. Section 3 looks at the mechanisms and the complex interplay of different factors associated with divorce and separation that may account for its impact on children. Section 4 explores the evidence relating to factors that may facilitate or hinder the likelihood of positive outcomes following family breakdown.