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The Effect of Divorce on School Performance and Behavior in Preschool Children in Greece: An Empirical Study of Teachers’ Views


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According to the National Statistical Service of Greece, single-parent families, which emerged after divorce, in 2011 occupied an important place among other family types, endangering a large number of children to display behavioral problems and poor school performance. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of divorce on preschool children. Specifically, we studied the behavior problems and academic performance of children from single-parent families compared with children from nuclear families according to teachers’ views. The research sample consisted of 314 students from various urban and suburban parts of Greece, for which their 118 preschool teachers completed the “Pupil Behavior Rating Scale” (PBRS) and a questionnaire with demographic characteristics and data of themselves, their students and their students’ parents. The results of the research showed statistically significant correlations between 1) the type of family and occurrence of behavioral problems and 2) the type of family and school performance of the two student groups (single parenthood-nuclear). According to the findings of the present study, it appears that the family pattern affects the emotional development and school progress of children. For this reason, bearing always in mind that each family is unique, they are of particular importance: the assurance of a structured family environment (quality relationships of the members), the regular communication with parents built upon relationships of respect and trust, and finally, the social support and assistance of competent institutions to single-parent families.
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2014. Vol.5, No.1, 20-26
Published Online January 2014 in SciRes (
The Effect of Divorce on School Performance and Behavior in
Preschool Children in Greece: An Empirical Study of Teachers’
Thomas Babalis, Konstantina Tsoli, Vassilis Nikolopoulos, Panagiotis Maniatis
Department of Primary Education, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece
Received November 1st, 2013; revised December 3rd, 2013; accepted January 2nd, 2014
Copyright © 2014 Thomas Babalis et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons
Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the
original work is properly cited. In accordance of the Creative Commons Attribution License all Copyrights ©
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According to the National Statistical Service of Greece, single-parent families, which emerged after di-
vorce, in 2011 occupied an important place among other family types, endangering a large number of
children to display behavioral problems and poor school performance. The purpose of the present study
was to investigate the effects of divorce on preschool children. Specifically, we studied the behavior
problems and academic performance of children from single-parent families compared with children from
nuclear families according to teachers’ views. The research sample consisted of 314 students from various
urban and suburban parts of Greece, for which their 118 preschool teachers completed the “Pupil Behav-
ior Rating Scale” (PBRS) and a questionnaire with demographic characteristics and data of themselves,
their students and their students’ parents. The results of the research showed statistically significant cor-
relations between 1) the type of family and occurrence of behavioral problems and 2) the type of family
and school performance of the two student groups (single parenthood-nuclear). According to the findings
of the present study, it appears that the family pattern affects the emotional development and school pro-
gress of children. For this reason, bearing always in mind that each family is unique, they are of particular
importance: the assurance of a structured family environment (quality relationships of the members), the
regular communication with parents built upon relationships of respect and trust, and finally, the social
support and assistance of competent institutions to single-parent families.
Keywords: Single-Parent Family; Nuclear Family; Parental Divorce; Behavior Problems;
School Performance; Preschool Age
During the last two decades an important literature amount
has developed internationally (Amato, 2001; Babalis, 2011), in
order to examine the effect of family structure on the personal
and social well-being of the child. The emergence of alternative
family types, such as single parenthood, raises questions as to
the quality assurance in the psychosocial development of the
child. According to the official definition of the Report of the
European Communities for the single-parent family, this is a
pattern which consists of a parent without a partner/spouse,
who probably lives with his/her parents and at least one unmar-
ried child under 18 years old dependent upon him/her (Roll,
1992). The single-parent family or lone-parent family is a new
family pattern that emerged from the refusal of the marital rela-
tionship rather than the parental, and demonstrates the variety
in the structure and form of the family without degrading its
value. The pattern of the single-parent family1 is found in vari-
ous types: a) the formal dissolution of marriage, separa-
tion/divorce, b) the death of a parent, c) the voluntary single
paretnhood-single mother and d) the informal dissolution of
marriage, after abandonment of the family by one parent. The
key reasons for the evolution of the phenomenon are located
into four categories of factors: a) socio-economic factors, b)
demographic factors, c) factors related to family functioning
and d) other individual factors (Babalis, 2011). It is characteris-
tic that during the period 1990-2003 the rate of divorce in
Greece has increased by 50%, while the number of marriages
was constantly reducing. In particular, according to Eurostat
(2013), the number of divorces from 0.6 per thousand inhabi-
tants that was recorded in 1990 in Greece, has risen up to 1.2 in
2009. This increase is attributed to the implementation of the
legislative framework on automatic divorceas well as to a
variety of other factors of psychosocial, economic, religious
and sociological nature, since the single-parent family is a mul-
tidimensional phenomenon with social, economic and political
aspects (Xatzixristou, 2009).
Children of single-parent families are being ranked in high
In this study, as single-
parent family is referred only the one, which
emerges after the separation/divorce of parents, where the single parent lives
with his/her child
ren. That is, widowship, single motherhood and abando
ment are not under scrutiny.
risk groups not only as far as the risk of educational failure is
concerned, but also regarding the possibility of social progress
and acquisition of emotional wellbeing and mental resilience,
i.e. psychosocial adjustment. Initially the family and then the
school are invited to meet the psychosocial needs of children,
which are stemming both from the social relationships with
others and from the actual nature of the individual. The most
common reactions of children in divorce are related to changes
in behavior, such as aggression, limited interpersonal relation-
ships, anger towards their parents, insecurity, fear of abandon-
ment by one or both parents and feelings of guilt (Hetherington,
2002a; Wallerstein & Lewis, 2004). Especially, in the early
stages of entry into single-parenthood, behavior is characterized
by isolation tendencies and outbursts of aggression. Provided
that the most critical factor for the adjustment of the child is
satisfied, i.e. a stable affective relationship between the child
and both parents, within two years the child will have a smooth
psychosocial development (Babalis, 2011). Regarding the de-
lineation of the concept of problem behavior is a difficult issue,
because of the complex and multifactorial nature of the concept
of behavior, the interdisciplinary interest and the lack of valid
and reliable criteria for its accurate measurement. Kauffman
(2000) argues that children with behavioral problems are those
that react abnormally in their environment in unsuccessful so-
cial and personal ways, which however can be improved
through organized and systematic intervention. Especially for
preschool age children, during which many quick changes with
strong developmental pace occur, behavior problems are classi-
fied into two major categories: a) externalizing problems, such
as hyperactivity, aggression, anger, disobedience, etc. and b)
internalizing problems, such as inhibition, shyness, fear, anxi-
ety, isolation, etc. (Thomas & Guskin, 2001). Indeed, among
the factors associated with the occurrence and prevalence of
behavior problems are the gender and age of children. Specifi-
cally, boys and preschool age children and adolescents show
higher rates of behavioral problems than girls and students in
childhood upon entering the single parenthood (Manolitsis &
Tafa, 2005). According to the international literature, the expo-
sure of children in conflict and hostile environments preceding
the divorce are related with behavior and adjustment problems
to a greater extent than the divorce per se (Clarke-Stewart,
Vandell, McCartney, Owen, & Booth, 2000; Wallerstein, 2003).
For example, Babalis, Xanthakoy, Papa, & Tsolou (2011) high-
lighted with their research the need to maintain a satisfactory
communication between divorced parents as an important fac-
tor in effective child’s relationship with the absent parent.
The poor prognosis or the inability to cope with problem be-
havior in kindergarten is characterized by a high degree of con-
tinuity in childhood and adolescence and seems to be associated
with adjustment difficulties and reduced school performance,
thus future school failure (McMahon, 2008; Xatzixristou &
Hopf, 1991). Adjustment difficulties in school are related to
problems in interpersonal and intrapersonal behavior. And
while often single parents argue that single parenthood alone is
not associated with the poor school performance of their chil-
dren (Pliogkou, 2011), international literature (Amato, 2001)
highlights the effect of family type on general academic per-
formance of children. At the same time, the results of some
research studies (Ushie, Emeka, Ononga, & Owolabi, 2012) do
not support a causal relationship between single parenthood and
school performance, thus emphasizing the inadequacy of the
literature findings and indicating the importance and novelty of
the present study. Among the factors that lead to decreased
school performance in children who come from single-parent
families are low academic expectations of lone parents (Shim,
Felner, & Shim, 2000), lack of parental involvement in their
children’s education (Yan & Lin, 2005), low socio-economic
status of the family (Amato & Keith, 1991), consequent stress
of the lone parent to cope with the requirements of the new
family patterns (Zinn, Eitzen, & Wells, 2008), poor quality of
children’s interpersonal relationships with both parents (Wall-
ersetin & Kelly, 1975), time phase of the traumatic experience
of separation/divorce (before, during or after divorce) (Tyber,
2011) and the supporting frame-assistance provided to sin-
gle-parent family from parents, siblings, friends, family, school,
state and other networks (Babalis, 2013). In the Greek area the
study on the effect of single parenthood on behavior and school
performance of students is fragmented, as the presence of such
research is limited and focuses unilaterally on some dimensions
of the issue (Babalis, 2011; Kogkidou, 2006; Xatzixristou,
2009). In the light of the theoretical frame mentioned above, it
can be suggested that divorce and low academic perform-
ance-behavior problems might be interrelated.
The purpose of the present research was the comparative in-
vestigation of the behavior and academic performance of pre-
school children from single-parent families after separa-
tion/divorce of their parents and children from nuclear families2.
In particular, the behavior of children is being studied in three
dimensions: school adjustment, interpersonal and intrapersonal
behavior. The present study relies on the estimates of students’
teachers rather than their parents, on the reports of the latter
focus, almost exclusively, most international research studies
(Tichovolsky, 2011), thereby creating a gap in the use of data
derived from the school premises. Therefore the present study
is an important approach to the topic from a new perspective,
since the school and consequently teachers are considered key
factors to the proper socialization of the child. And, according
to the Ecological Systems Theory (Bronfenbrenner, 1994), the
child develops simultaneously both in two systems, school and
family. Specifically, considering that children from single-
parent families are at high risk of having lower school per-
formance and exhibiting more behavior problems compared to
children from nuclear families (Wallerstein, 2003), our hy-
pothesis is that the type of family (single-parent/nuclear) affects
the behavior and the school performance of preschool children
and that there exists a positive and significant relationship be-
tween the variables.
The present study involved one hundred and eighteen (118)
teachers with a mean of approximately eleven years of total
work experience (M = 11.21, SD = 8.02), who provided infor-
mation on the family status (nuclear or single-parent family),
the school performance and the behavior problems of three
hundred and fourteen (314) preschool students, of which one
hundred and seventy (170) were boys (percentage 54.1%) and
one hundred and forty four (144) girls (percentage 45.9%) with
a mean age of approximately five years old (M = 5.4, SD = 0.8).
2In this study, as nuclear family is referred the one in which the child lives
with both parents.
Α) Pupil Behavior Rating Scale (PBRS)
For the measurement of behavioral problems, teachers com-
pleted for each student in our sample the “Pupil Behavior Rat-
ing Scale” (Xatzixristou & Hopf, 1991), which consists of 11
items rated on a 5-point Likert scale (from 1 = always until 5 =
never), where higher scores indicate fewer problems. The scale
measures three dimensions: 1) School adjustment, which refers
to behaviors that are associated with learning and support it (e.g.
this student does not like school and is not showing interest in
the courses) 2) Interpersonal behavior, which concerns students’
social skills (e.g. this student quarrels with others more often
than the others do and 3) Intrapersonal behavior, which is asso-
ciated with psychological factors (e.g. this student gets sick or
angry, or may be absent from school, when faced with a diffi-
cult subject or state).
Β) Questionnaire with Demographic Information and
Other Data
Simultaneously with the above scale, teachers completed a
questionnaire on their demographics, which included informa-
tion on gender, age, marital status, total work experience and
postgraduate studies. Finally, teachers provided information
about demographic characteristics and general data for their
students (gender, age, and general school performance) and
their families (education level, family type, nuclear or sin-
gle-parent, and the degree of assistance-family support).
Procedure of Data Collection
The research was conducted the first six months of 2013 in
schools of urban (Athens, Piraeus, Thessaloniki) and semi-
urban areas (Cyclades Islands and Rhodes island) of Greece.
The questionnaires were administered by hand to the teachers,
each of whom was provided with instructions regarding their
completion, which took place during the working hours of the
school. The completion of the questionnaires respected the
codes of ethical scientific educational research and the duration
of their completion was about fifteen (15) minutes.
Statistical Analyses
For the comparison of the dimensions of behavior among
students coming from nuclear family and those coming from a
single-parent family Student’s t-tests and effect sizes of Cohen
were used. The differences in the dimensions of behavior de-
pending on the type of family were also tested with multivariate
linear regression analysis taking into account the gender and
age of the students. Significance levels are bilaterally and sta-
tistical significance was set at 0.05. For the purpose of the sta-
tistical analysis of the data, the Statistical Package for Social
Sciences for Windows (SPSS) (Version 19.0) was used.
According to the sample characteristics, twenty one (21, or
percentage 17.8%) teachers were aged between twenty (20) to
twenty nine (29) years old, forty seven (47, or percentage
39.8%) teachers’ age ranged between thirty (30) to thirty nine
(39) years old, forty two (42, or percentage 35.6%) teachers
aged from forty (40) to forty nine (49) years old and finally
eight (8, or percentage 6.8%) teachers were older than fifty (50)
years old. Regarding their marital status, forty teachers (40, or
percentage 33.9%) were single, sixty four (64, or percentage
54.2%) were married and fourteen (14, or percentage 11.9%)
were divorced. Finally, thirty six of the total (36, or percentage
30.5%) held a master degree, while eighty two (82, or percent-
age 69.5%) did not. Regarding the students’ parents who be-
longed to a nuclear family, one hundred and thirty five (135, or
percentage 67.5%) fathers had compulsory education level and
sixty five (65, or percentage 32.5%) fathers had higher educa-
tion level. Accordingly, the education level of one hundred and
thirty four (134, or percentage 67%) mothers was compulsory
and the education level of sixty six (66, or percentage 33%)
mothers was higher. The education level of the students’ par-
ents who belonged to a single-parent family was compulsory
for sixty nine (69, or percentage 60.5%) fathers and seventy (70,
or percentage 61.4%) mothers and higher for forty five (45, or
percentage 39.5%) fathers and forty four (44, or percentage
38.6%) mothers.
Table 1 shows the percentages of the two types of family
(nuclear/single-parent), as they are distributed to the students in
our sample. Of the three hundred and fourteen (314) students,
two hundred (200) belong to a nuclear family (percentage
63.7%) and one hundred and fourteen (114) are derived from a
single-parent family (percentage 36.3%) after separation/di-
vorce. From the latter, twenty-three (23) preschool students
(percentage 20.2%) live with their father, while the other ninety
one (91) students (percentage 79.8%) live with their mother.
Fifty four (54) students (percentage 47.4%) have recently (up to
2 years) entered single parenthood, forty six (46) students (per-
centage 40.4%) live for 2 to 4 years in a single-parent family
and seven (7) students (percentage 6.1%) experience single
parenthood more than 4 years.
Graph 1 shows the degree of assistance—supporting frame-
work provided, always according to the estimates of teachers,
to the single-parent family. The results showed that the teachers
chose from a 5-point Likert scale (1 = always and 5 = never)
the answers: “always” at the question which concerns the de-
gree of assistance-supporting framework provided by parents
(percentage 53%) and siblings (percentage 41%), “often” by
relatives (percentage 35%), “sometimes” by the state (percent-
age 32%) and “never” from other people or institutions of the
wider environment (percentage 50%).
Table 2 presents the results of the comparisons of items re-
lating to behavior problems in the two study groups (nu-
clear-single-parent family). Statistically significant differences
(p < 0.05) were found in all the items of the “Pupil Behavior
Rating Scale”, except from the one that refers to whether “the
student disobeys and questions the prestige of the teacher”.
Table 3 shows the reliability or Cronbach’s alpha value for
the factors of the “Pupil Behavior Rating Scale” (School ad-
justment, Interpersonal behavior and Intrapersonal behavior),
which was acceptable and greater than 0.75. The Cronbach’s
alpha value of the scale was 0.864, which indicates satisfactory
internal consistency reliability. The scale has been adjusted in
Greek population (Xatzixristou & Hopf, 1991) and has showed
good psychometric properties.
Table 4 presents the differences between the students of nu-
clear and single-parent families on the factors of the “Pupil
Behavior Rating Scale”. The results of multivariate analysis of
variance supported the existence of statistically significant dif-
ferences between students of different family types. Specifical
Table 1.
Type of family of the students in the sample and time in single pa-
N %
Type of family
Nuclear 200 63.7
Single-parent 114 36.3
Father 23 20.2
Mother 91 79.8
Time in single parenthood
Up to 2 years 54 47.4
2 to 4 years 46 40.4
Over 4 years 7 6.1
Graph 1.
To what extent and by whom there is assistance-supporting framework
to the single-parent family (single parent and child).
ly, it appears that the scores of the factors School adjustment,
Interpersonal behavior and Intrapersonal behavior differed sig-
nificantly between groups (p < 0.001) with students from a
single-parent family exhibiting more behavior problems. The
type of the family, according to the effect sizes (Cohen’s effect
sizes = ES) had a greater effect on Intrapersonal behavior (ES =
0.71), less in School adjustment (ES = 0.43) and even less in
Interpersonal behavior (ES = 0.39).
Table 5 presents the results of multivariate linear regression
analysis on the dimensions of the “Pupil Behavior Rating Scale”
in relation to the gender and age of the students. Low rates were
found in all three dimensions in the single-parent family com-
pared to the nuclear, indicating that the effect of the type of
family in behavioral problems of children remains significant
even if we take into account the gender and age.
Table 6 presents the differences between the two study
groups in the general school performance. The percentage of
students who are excellent is smaller in the single-parent family
compared to the nuclear, while a greater percentage of average
students were found in the single parent family.
Table 7 shows that the general school performance is lower
for the children of single-parent families (p = 0.020) compared
with the children of nuclear families.
Research data collection and analysis indicates that 63.7% of
the sample belongs to a nuclear family, while 36.3% lives in a
single-parent family, which emerged after the formal dissolu-
tion of marriage (separation/divorce). Indeed, in the latter case
the child resides to a great extent (79.8%) with its mother (sin-
gle-mother families or mother-headed families), which is con-
sistent with the findings of the literature (Musick & Meier,
2010). The largest percentage of children entered recently sin-
gle parenthood. Regarding the assistance-support that single-
parent families are receiving, it is provided mostly by parents
and siblings, sometimes by relatives, often by the state and
never by other people or institutions from the wider environ-
Based on the results of the comparisons among the items that
are related to behavior problems, children from single-parent
families in our sample seem to have significantly more behav-
ioral problems compared to those from a nuclear family. Ac-
cording to international literature (Babalis, 2013; Hetherington,
2002b), children in single-parent families are about two times
more likely than those in nuclear families to have serious social,
emotional or psychological problems (25% versus 10%). An
exception is the item regarding student’s disobedience and
question of teacher’s prestige. This may be justified by the fact
that, regardless of the type of family, parents encourage their
children to respect their teachers and obey their instructions
(Babalis, 2011).
Differences also were found in the three dimensions of the
“Pupil Behavior Rating Scale” with students from a single-
parent family in our sample exhibiting more behavioral prob-
lems. In particular, the type of family seems to have a greater
effect on the “intrapersonal behavior” of preschool children,
which means that children of single parents seem to be more
isolated, shy and melancholic and get sick or angry when faced
with a difficult problem. Moreover, smaller, but nevertheless
statistically significant, appeared to be the effect of the type of
family on the “School adjustment”, which results in students
who come from a single-parent family finding it difficult to
follow the instructions in the lesson, having difficulties in
learning, being often abstract and not liking school compared to
students who belong to nuclear family.
Finally, third hierarchically, but equally significant, seems to
be the effect of the type of family on the “Interpersonal behav-
ior” with students of single-parent families quarreling often,
behaving dangerously and showing immature or inappropriate
behavior. These findings are convergent with others (Babalis,
2011; Babalis, Xanthakou, Papa, & Tsolou, 2011; Xatzixristou,
2009) studying teachers’ views on social adjustment and inter-
personal behavior of children in Greek school, according to
which the attention of children of single-parent families is eas-
ily disrupted, their behavior is often characterized as immature
or inappropriate, they do not follow the instructions of a lesson
easily, they appear more isolated with depression tendencies,
and they exhibit more intrapersonal problems. The study as
well of Babalis, Tsoli & Tinareli (2011), which investigated the
adaptation and school performance of preschool children after
seperation/divorce of their parents compared to children of
nuclear families in the Greek kindergarten, concluded also,
among others, in the emergence of greater problems in school
adjustment, interpersonal and intrapersonal behavior in the
children from single-parent families. Moreover, it seems that
even after taking into account children’s gender and age, the
effect of the type of family in behavioral problems of children
remains significant, with children from single-parent families
having more behavioral problems.
Finally, general school performance of students from nuclear
families tends to a greater extent to “excellent” compared with
students of single-parent families, who are characterized by
their teachers at a greater rate as “average” students. Therefore,
it seems that general school performance is lower for children
Table 2.
Comparison of the items of behavior in the two study groups.
Type of family
p Mann-Whitney
Nuclear Single-parent
Mean ± SD
(Interq. Range)
Mean ± SD
(Interq. Range)
This student quarrels with others more often than the others do 2.17 ± 1.2 2 (1 3) 2.54 ± 1.18
2 (2 - 3) 0.003
This student has difficulty attending to the instruction and
guidance of the teacher in the classroom 2.3 ± 1.26 2 (1 - 3) 2.76 ± 1.14
3 (2 - 4) 0.001
This student has not proper behavior at school (immature or
inappropriate behavior for his age or for the occasion) 2.21 ± 1.23
2 (1 - 3) 2.71 ± 1.24
3 (2 - 4) <0.001
This student is usually shy. isolated and is not hanging
out with other students 1.9 ± 1.15 1 (1 - 3) 2.38±1.09 2 (1 - 3) <0.001
This student is distracted in class 2.38 ± 1.2 2 (1 - 3) 2.81 ± 1.15
3 (2 - 4) 0.001
This student behaves dangerously to himself and others 1.61 ± 1.04
1 (1 - 2) 1.99 ± 1.03
2 (1 - 3) <0.001
This student does not like school and shows no interest in the lessons 1.78 ± 1.09
1 (1 - 2) 2.3 ± 1.03 2 (1 - 3) <0.001
This student has difficulty in learning 2.12 ± 1.26
2 (1 - 3) 2.43 ± 1.1 2 (2 - 3) 0.005
This student gets sick or angry or may be absent from school.
when faced with a difficult lesson or situation 1.53 ± 0.91
1 (1 - 2) 2.06 ± 1.06
2 (1 - 3) <0.001
This student seems not to be happy. but melancholic 1.73 ± 1 1 (1 - 2) 2.45 ± 1.01
2 (2 - 3) <0.001
This student is disobedient and questions the prestige of the teacher 1.67 ± 1.04
1 (1 - 2) 1.86 ± 1.18
1 (1 - 2) 0.135
Table 3.
Means (Μ), Standard Deviations (SD) of students and reliability indices (Cronbach’s a) in the “Pupil Behavior Rating Scale” factors.
Minimum Value Maximum Valus Mean ± SD Cronbach’s a
School adjustment 4.00 20.00 14.81 ± 4.09 0.89
Interpersonal behavior 4.00 20.00 15.82 ± 3.85 0.85
Intrapersonal behavior 3.00 15.00 12.22 ± 2.62 0.75
Table 4.
Mean (Μ), Standard Deviations (SD) of students in single-parent and nuclear families in the “Pupil Behavior Rating Scale” factors.
Type of family
p Student’s t-test Cohen΄s d*
Nuclear Single-parent
Mean ± SD Mean ± SD
School adjustment 15.44 ± 4.22 13.7 ± 3.6 <0.001 0.43
Interpersonal behavior 16.35 ± 3.82 14.88 ± 3.72 0.001 0.39
Intrapersonal behavior 12.85 ± 2.52 11.1 ± 2.41 <0.001 0.71
*a “small” effect size is 0.20, a “medium” effect size is 0.50, and a “large” effect size is 0.80.
Table 5.
Results of linear regression models for the effect of the type of family on the dimensions of behavior problems taking into account the gender and age
of the child.
School adjustment β SE p
Type of family Nuclear 0.00
Single-parent –1.71 0.48 <0.001
Interpersonal behavior
Type of family Nuclear 0.00
Single-parent –1.32 0.45 0.003
Intrapersonal behavior
Type of family Nuclear 0.00
Single-parent –1.79 0.30 <0.001
Table 6.
Comparison of general school performance in both study groups.
Type of family
p Pearson’s x2 test
Nuclear Single-parent
N % N %
General school performance
Week 29 15.3 13 11.7
Moderate 38 20.0 41 36.9
Good 71 37.4 42 37.8
Excellent 52 27.4 15 13.5
Table 7.
Mean (M), Standard Deviations (SD) and Median (Interquartile range) of the general school performance in the two study groups.
Type of family
Nuclear Single-parent
Mean ± SD Median (Interq. Range) Mean ± SD Median (Interq. Range) p Mann-Whitney
General school performance
2.77 ± 1.02 3.00 (2.00 - 4.00) 2.53 ± 0.87 3.00 (2.00 - 3.00) 0.020
of single parents than children of nuclear families in our sample.
This gap between the type of family and academic achievement
between the two groups of students is also supported by the
literature (Uwaifo, 2012). The time that the students in our
sample live in a single-parent family is short, which certainly
affects and justifies to an extent the results of the research con-
cerning their behavior and academic performance.
Schools ought to show understanding and sensitivity, provide
assistance in cases of addressing difficulties and, through
maintaining an objective attitude, develop policies to support
single-parent families. Initially, it is necessary to create a
learning environment that will be characterized by a specific
structure and stable organization, providing equal learning op-
portunities to all students and aiming to the enhancement of
personal and social development of all members in a positive
school climate. Towards this direction, proper education and
training of teachers will contribute the most, through seminars
on issues related to school psychology and mainly to normal
school adjustment of students from alternative types of family
life. The universal based programs may reduce any conscious
or unconscious biases held by teachers against children from
single-parent families and reinforce their leadership and advi-
sory role.
The lifelong learning and education on behavioral issues to
groups of children who exhibit striking problems, of course
should not be limited only to teachers, but need to be extended
to parents of the school, in order to strengthen this important
dipole of communication and collaboration aiming at the well-
being of the child (Epstein, 1995; Koutrouba, Antonopoulou, &
Babalis, 2010). The growing sense of love and security and the
compliance with stable limits on the behavior of both parents
are auxiliary agents with positive results (Babalis, 2011). Of
major importance is the collaboration of the school with rele-
vant local government agencies in providing appropriate sup-
port to lone-parent families. Often indeed, increased behavioral
problems are associated with low socioeconomic status, social
exclusion and poverty, the levels of which, according to re-
search data (Bougioukos, 2011) are lower in single-parent
households compared to other types of family. Therefore, social
support is necessary in order to improve and promote the men-
tal and physical health of these children.
The present study has a number of limitations. Firstly, the
conclusions were based on the views of teachers, without taking
into consideration the views of children and their parents.
Moreover, additional important factors, such as the socio-eco-
nomic status of the family or the degree of parental involve-
ment in children’s education were not taken into account.
Lastly, instead of or in combination with the “Pupil Behavior
Rating Scale”, which is a self-report scale, the study could have
taken advantage of the data derived from an interview as well.
In future study, researchers should consider exploring, addi-
tionally to the teachers, the views of children and their parents
by using self-report questionnaires or tests and 360 degree
questionnaires simultaneously. Also, emphasis should be pla-
ced on the impact of further factors related to divorce, e.g. the
duration of single parenthood, the quality of interpersonal rela-
tionships with both parents or social and economic status of the
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... While many studies have focused on the implications of divorce for children (Amato 2014;Boring et al. 2015) or for parents (Sandler et al. 2011;Kalmijn 2012), few have examined the impact of divorce on educators, and particularly on those working in early childhood education (Babalis et al. 2014). To the best of our knowledge, no studies have examined this topic in the Israeli early childhood education system. ...
... They report being unprepared for adult relationships as well as underachievement, low self-esteem, feelings of sadness and loneliness and fear of abandonment (Kleinsorge and Covitz 2012;Mikucki-Enyart, Wilder, and Barber 2017). Moreover, children of divorced parents exhibit lower scholastic achievements and are less motivated to acquire higher education than children whose parents remained together (Babalis et al. 2014). ...
... A study that compared preschool adjustment between a group of 30 children whose parents were divorced and a group of 30 children whose parents were not divorced found that the groups did not differ in their social skills or achievements. On the other hand, the group of children whose parents were divorced exhibited difficulties in interpersonal relations within the family and emotional and behavioural difficulties at preschool (Babalis et al. 2014). Cooperation marked by care, tolerance and mutuality is important for children, teachers and parents. ...
This study aimed to examine the perceptions of preschool teachers regarding their work with divorced parents. In-depth, semistructured qualitative interviews with 15 preschool teachers were conducted. The findings show that preschool teachers devote twice as much time to communicating with divorced parents than with married parents. Furthermore, the teachers tend to identify with one of the parents. When divorced parents are in an acute state of conflict, the teachers must bridge between them, experiencing emotional distress as a result. Despite this major emotional load and feelings of confusion and helplessness, preschool teachers receive very little support, most of it informal.
... Corresponding to this finding, Steele, Sigle-Rushton, and Kravdal (2009) also observed a direct relationship between parental marital breakdown and lower levels of children's education. The finding of this study also corroborates well with the findings of Albertini andDronkers (2009), andBabalis, Tsoli, Nikolopoulos, andManiatis (2014) in which they found the children of divorced parents becoming academically poorer than those coming from intact families in the Italian and the Greek contexts respectively. Grätz (2015) also reported a similar finding, but his study saw children of low-educated parents being negatively affected in attending the upper track in secondary school and on academic grades in German and mathematics after parental separation than those with highlyeducated parents. ...
... Corresponding to this finding, Steele, Sigle-Rushton, and Kravdal (2009) also observed a direct relationship between parental marital breakdown and lower levels of children's education. The finding of this study also corroborates well with the findings of Albertini andDronkers (2009), andBabalis, Tsoli, Nikolopoulos, andManiatis (2014) in which they found the children of divorced parents becoming academically poorer than those coming from intact families in the Italian and the Greek contexts respectively. Grätz (2015) also reported a similar finding, but his study saw children of low-educated parents being negatively affected in attending the upper track in secondary school and on academic grades in German and mathematics after parental separation than those with highlyeducated parents. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
As home is the first context of learning, intact families in it are indispensable as they are the first persons who prepare their children with social skills that are necessary for the success of their children throughout school years and beyond. Similarly, studies also suggest the importance of parental roles and their involvement in children's learning. However, due to rising divorce rates in Bhutan, numerous school-going children seem to be lacking the desired skills that could positively affect their learning and academic performances at school. Moreover, as there is little evidence of such a study being conducted in the Bhutanese context, this qualitative research investigated the impacts of parental divorce on ten school going children's academic performances and achievements at a boarding school in Punakha. Data obtained from the semi-structured interviews (n=5) and the essay writing (n=5) were analyzed using content analysis technique. After collating and triangulating data and cross-checking them with the participants' progress reports, there emerged three prominent themes: a) parental neglect, b) psychological effect, and c) social isolation and incompetence. The findings from this study would inform the Ministry of Education, local communities, schools and the teachers to organize rehabilitation programs and explore alternative ways to provide both pastoral and academic care to those children coming from divorced family backgrounds. Also, it may inform the parents of the potential risks the indirect victimization of their children may have on them if parents choose divorce at any point of their married lives.
... Further, the social status and the inequalities created among the families students come from, result in them also being unequal as far as their school performance is regarded (Babalis, Tsoli, Nikolopoulos, & Maniatis, 2014). Families with low economic status have limited access to public and social benefits, including the benefit of education. ...
... When I try to concentrate, I feel very sad… and can't control myself and miss my father." Family dissolution results in distraction and emotional breakdown in children (Babalis et al., 2014). On the other hand, the findings show that about more than 70 % reported a 'longer concentration period' and 'good performance in academics' ...
Full-text available
Parental involvement is the active participation of parents in their children's educational processes and experiences. Numerous studies have established a significantly positive link between parental involvement and children's academic, and socio-emotional outcomes. Many studies explored parents' and teachers' perspectives, however, parental involvement being a multi-dimensional variable, requires requisite perspectives from all stakeholders. A global paucity of studies exploring students' perspectives and the absence of research on parental involvement, in the Bhutanese context, served as the impetus for this study. This study investigated the perspective of at-risk students on parental involvement in children's education. The 257 participants faced circumstance(s) such as divorce, separation, and death of the parent(s). The mixed methods approach was employed to collect both quantitative and qualitative data to determine how the participants perceive parental involvement in their education. Survey questionnaires, focus group discussions, and narrative story writing were used to glean participants' perspectives. The findings reveal the extent of involvement for different members of the family, the perceived importance of parental involvement at different levels of education, some common barriers to parental involvement, areas of involvement and neglect, and the impact of death, separation, and divorce of parents, on at-risk students. The study primarily recommends relevant stakeholders create awareness of the value of parental involvement as well as devise policy instruments to promote it for the holistic development of at-risk students.
... If the family is not harmonious in communicating, then life in the household is not fun and feels empty. Conflict in the family affects the academic performance of children at school [5], and also has an impact on the child's adjustment, psychological development and social relationships [6]. The problem of marriage in the family requires a solution through the right treadman so that the problem can be resolved properly. ...
... The disruption to the family caused by divorce, or parental separation, can impact children's development and academic progress. Across multiple samples, children whose parents separated saw increased school related difficulties; this is especially the case when some academic difficulties are already present (Babalis et al., 2014;Bernardi et al., 2014;Nusinovici et al., 2018). Though, the impact of divorce appears to be temporally associated with the separation and becomes less apparent as children age (Clare-Stewart et al., 2000). ...
Longitudinal, prospective analyses of marital status in parents of individuals with autism are needed. We describe the timing of divorce, and the factors that contribute to divorce in a longitudinal sample of families of individuals with autism. Participants included parents of 219 children, initially referred for autism and other developmental delays, followed to age 30 years. Approximately 36% of individuals with autism in our sample experienced a parental divorce by age 30. Higher rates of divorce were associated with maternal education, race and age at child’s birth, as well as autism symptom severity and diagnosis. Divorces were most common in early years (under age 5) and also in the teenage years and beyond (over age 15). After age 15, higher risk was associated with higher cognitive ability and daily living skills, and being a multiplex family. Results suggest that divorce risk in families of children with autism remains high through childhood into early adulthood. Understanding factors related to changes in marital status may help us better support families across time.
... The results of this study indicate the divorce's impact on the social growth of children. Previous research also indicated the similar results from different societies (Babalis et al., 2014;Størksen et al., 2012;Strohschein, 2005). The also results show that parental divorce has a significant impact on children, particularly interpersonal behavior development. ...
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Divorce situates severe consequences on the family environment, annually significant numbers of children face such life transitions. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship of parental divorce with social, psychological behaviors and academic performance of separated family children in the perception of elementary teachers. This study surveyed socio-psychological behavior and academic performance indicators. Sixty teachers participated in the study; they were currently teaching such children. The statistical measures of study constitute a significant negative impact on children’s social and academic performance. This study concluded the distressing effect of divorce on elementary students.
... Αντιθέτως, σε συλλογικές χώρες, όπως η ελλάδα (Georgas, Christakopoulou, Poortinga, Angleitner, Goodwin & Charalambpous, 1997), οι οικογενειακές σχέσεις χαρακτηρίζονται από στενούς συναισθηματικούς δεσμούς με τους γονείς τόσο στην εφηβεία όσο και στην ενηλικίωση. επιπλέον, στην ελλάδα, οι έρευνες για το διαζύγιο έχουν επικεντρωθεί στις απόψεις των εκπαιδευτικών σχετικά με την επίδραση του διαζυγίου στη συμπεριφορά των παιδιών προσχολικής (Βabalis, Tsoli, Nikolopoulos & Maniatis, 2014) και σχολικής ηλικίας (Χατζηχρήστου, 1999). ...
Στόχος της παρούσας έρευνας ήταν να εξεταστεί εάν το διαζύγιο αποτελεί παράγοντα επικινδυνότητας για τις γονεϊκές πρακτικές μετά τον έλεγχο των γονεϊκών συγκρούσεων και των αρνητικών γεγονότων ζωής. Συμμετείχαν 2083 έφηβοι, αγόρια και κορίτσια, 15-17 ετών από 14 λύκεια στην Αττική. 12% των έφηβων ζουν με χωρισμένους/σε διάσταση γονείς. Το διαζύγιο, οι γονεϊκές συγκρούσεις και τα αρνητικά γεγονότα ζωής εξετάστηκαν ως παράγοντες επικινδυνότητας. Τέσσερις γονεϊκές πρακτικές εξετάστηκαν: ο συναισθηματικός δεσμός, ο ψυχολογικός έλεγχος, ο συμπεριφορικός έλεγχος και η εκχώρηση αυτονομίας. Τα ερωτηματολόγια που χρησιμοποιήθηκαν απαντώνται στη διεθνή βιβλιογραφία και μεταφράστηκαν από την αγγλική στην ελληνική γλώσσα. Τα αποτελέσματα έδειξαν ότι όταν το διαζύγιο μελετήθηκε ως μόνος παράγοντας επικινδυνότητας, έθετε σε κίνδυνο τις γονεϊκές πρακτικές. Μετά τον έλεγχο των γονεϊκών συγκρούσεων και των αρνη- τικών γεγονότων ζωής, το διαζύγιο δεν έθετε σε κίνδυνο τις γονεϊκές πρακτικές των μητέρων, ενώ έθετε σε κίνδυνο τις γονεϊκές πρακτικές των πατέρων. Οι γονεϊκές συγκρούσεις και τα αρνητικά γεγονότα ζωής απο- τέλεσαν παράγοντα επικινδυνότητας για τις γονεϊκές πρακτικές των μητέρων και των πατέρων, ανεξαρτήτως οικογενειακής κατάστασης. Τέλος, βρέθηκαν διαφορές στις γονεϊκές πρακτικές ως προς το φύλο των εφήβων και το κοινωνικο-οικονομικό επίπεδο των γονέων. Τα ευρήματα συζητώνται ως προς τη σημασία των εφαρμογών τους στη συμβουλευτική οικογένειας.
... Thus, different family structures include two-parent or nuclear families, single-parent families and foster families (Levin, 2012;Babalis, Xanthacou, & Kaila, 2018). Various changes in a family's structure, such as divorce, separation, a spouse's death, family mobility are all variables that define change in a family structure and turn it from a nuclear family to a single-parent or foster one, while they are considered to be extremely stressful for all the members of a family, a fact that increases dropping-out rates (Astone & McLanahan, 1991;Haveman, Wolfe, & Spaulding, 1991;Day, 1993;Alexander, Entwisle & Horsey, 1997;Garnier, Stein, & Jacobs, 1997;Schargel & Smink, 2001;Bohon, Garber, & Horowitz, 2007;Babalis, Tsoli, Nikolopoulos, & Maniatis, 2014). ...
Full-text available
Μια έκφανση του οικογενειακού συστήματος είναι η- μονογονεϊκή οικογένεια, η αύξηση της οποίας έχει ως αποτέλεσμα την αύξηση του αριθμού των μαθητών/-τριών που ζει σε ένα διαφορετικό οικογενειακό περιβάλλον από την πυρηνική οικογένεια. Στόχος της παρούσας έρευνας είναι η διερεύνηση των αντιλήψεων 254 εκπαιδευτικών Προσχολικής και Δημοτικής Εκπαίδευσης αναφορικά με τους παράγοντες που δύνανται να επηρεάζουν την εκπαιδευτική επιτυχία των μαθητών/-τριών που προέρχονται από μονογονεϊκά περιβάλλοντα. Για τις ανάγκες της έρευνας κατασκευάστηκε ένα ερωτηματολόγιο μέτρησης των αντιλήψεων των εκπαιδευτικών αναφορικά με τη μονογονεϊκότητα. Τα ευρήματα της έρευνας αποκαλύπτουν ότι η ηλικία των ερωτηθέντων εκπαιδευτικών, το μορφωτικό τους επίπεδο, αλλά και το αν υπηρετούν στην Προσχολική ή Δημοτική Εκπαίδευση, φαίνεται να επηρεάζουν τη διαμόρφωση των αντιλήψεών τους. Διαπιστώνεται, επίσης, η ανάγκη για δημιουργία προγραμμάτων επιμόρφωσης και στήριξης των εκπαιδευτικών, με σκοπό την καλύτερη διαχείριση των δυσκολιών που ενδέχεται να απορρέουν από την ολοένα και μεγαλύτερη αύξηση της συχνότητας του κοινωνικού φαινομένου της μονογονεϊκότητας και του οικογενειακού πλουραλισμού.
Introduction: The aim of this research, which was carried out in 2010, is the comparative study of the psychosocial adjustment of preschool children from divorced and nuclear families in the nursery school. Method: The sample of the study consisted of 60 students (mean age = 5.21), 30 preschool children of divorced parents and 30 preschool children from nuclear families that are enrolled in public kindergartens. The Preschool teachers of the students were interviewed and answered questions with regard to children's school adaptation. Moreover, children drew an imaginary family in the frame of test of family. Results: The results showed that both groups do not differ as to the general school adjustment, social skills and school performance, but there were significant correlations between the quality of interpersonal relationships and school performance, and the form of the family and the emergence of emotional and/or behavior problems. Finally, the analysis of children's drawings showed significant differentiations between the two groups of the sample at hand. Discussion: The results of the present study confirm the value of children's drawing and especially of the family test as a diagnostic and evaluative tool of the power of the interfamilial relations and representations that the child has shaped about his/her family. The contemporary kindergarten, which primarily aims at children's cognitive, social and emotional development, can support these children, who, at such tender age, face difficult situations in life. Constant work and effort are required to improve the work of preschool teachers, the upgrading of preschool educational programs and the provision of help to as many children as possible, regardless of conditions and circumstances. Kindergarten and primary school could offer 'abilities rather than disabilities' to children of all social classes and family background, as we should not forget that children's adaptation and success in school are closely related to their social and emotional wellbeing.
A meta-analysis was conducted of studies dealing with the long-term consequences of parental divorce for adult well-being. Effect sizes were calculated for 15 outcome variables across 37 studies involving over 81,000 individuals. Mean effect sizes were significant and negative for all outcomes; this indicated that adults who experienced parental divorce exhibited lower levels of well-being than did adults whose parents were continuously married. The strongest estimated effects occurred in the areas of one-parent family status, psychological adjustment, behavior/conduct, and educational attainment. Effect sizes were significantly stronger in clinical studies than in studies based on community samples. In addition, effects sizes tended to be stronger for whites than for blacks, stronger in earlier studies than in more recent studies, and stronger in studies that did not use statistical controls than in studies that did.
For the introductory, characteristics course in Behavior Disorders. This market-leading text provides a comprehensive, up-to-date, research- based introduction to emotional and behavioral disorders. It describes all major types of disorders across the age range of preschooler through adolescent and is organized around five basic concepts: the nature of disorders and the conceptual approaches to them; assessment; major casual factors; facets of disordered emotion and behavior; and a personal statement about teaching students with these disorders. It effectively links research in child development, psychology, and special education directly to the work of the classroom teacher.
The present study examined whether ineffective discipline, single parent status, social support, parent involvement, and parent depression predicted changes in preschoolers' (N = 129) behavior problems. This study also evaluated whether child sex and ethnicity moderated the relations between these variables and changes in problem behavior. Parents completed questionnaires at the beginning of the study, and parent, teacher, and observational ratings of children's behavior problems were collected twice during the school year. Parents' own social support predicted improvement for boys and parent depression was associated with worsening symptoms for girls. Single parenthood and parent involvement predicted changes in behavior problems for the sample as a whole. Several significant ethnic differences emerged, highlighting the importance of considering cultural context in studies of parenting and child externalizing behavior.
The authors examined the relationships of 3 dimensions of parent involvement (family obligations, family norms, and parent information networks) to 12th-grade students' mathematics achievement and ways in which these relationships varied across 4 racial and ethnic groups (i.e., Caucasians, African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians). Using 4-year longitudinal data from the National Education Longitudinal Study: 1988 (NELS: 88), the authors factor analyzed 39 parent involvement variables to create 9 composites, whose relationship to 12th graders' mathematics scores were assessed with ordinary least squares regression. Findings indicate that parent involvement as a form of social capital was generally a salient indicator for explaining the mathematics achievement of the Caucasian students. Close parent-teenager relationship was 1 of the major ways in which minority (except Hispanic) families positively influenced the senior mathematics outcome. Regardless of racial or ethnic background, educational expectation had the strongest positive effect on 12th graders' mathematics achievement.
This October 2010 article is a reprint of the original May 1995 (V76N9) article and includes a new one-page introduction (on page 65 of this issue) by the author. The author highlights the importance of designing integrated, coordinated social contexts in which children can develop. She summarizes the results of many studies and the work of educators and families in elementary, middle, and high schools and describes how schools can develop more positive school/family/community connections. The introduction is included in the downloadable pdf.
This report provides an overview of the numbers, characteristics, and economic situation of lone-parent families in the European Community. The report aims to take at least a first step toward providing information that would enable policy-makers to address the problems faced by single-parent families. The report concludes that women's responsibility for child care was a major cause of economic inequality between men and women. Chapter 1 of the report provides a summary of the European community. The first part presents a definition of lone parenthood, the marital status of parents, household situations, dependent children, and a resulting "standard" definition for lone parenthood. The second part presents statistics and league tables on lone parent families. The third part details the labor force survey as a source of information. The final part addresses the economic situation of the families, including sources of income and poverty data. The report's second chapter presents sketches of individual countries to provide an overview of the status of lone-parent families and to highlight new developments. Sketches are provided for Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. The final chapter provides a summary and conclusions relating to the numbers, policies, and areas for further exploration, including the differing training needs of single parents in different countries. (Author/SD)