In all industrial countries, family life has changed dramatically during the last few decades. The rise in divorce rates in the second half of the twentieth century was dramatic; in fact, between 1960 and 1980, the divorce rate in most Westernized countries more than doubled. The rise in divorces has had an especially negative impact on children, as millions of them have witnessed parental separation.
Furthermore, recent rises in non-marital births, mostly due to increased rates of childbirth among cohabiting couples, have resulted in a greater percentage of youngsters witnessing their never-married parents’ separation. Because cohabiting relationships are less durable than marriages, many children born into these unions will see their parents’ union disintegrate when their parents’ cohabiting relationships cease.