Divorced Parents May Impact Some Teens' Academics

Jim Liebelt

*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on

Parental divorce is associated with a lower grade point average (GPA) among adolescents, with a stronger association seen in teens with more educated mothers, according to a study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Sondre Aasan Nilsen of the Norwegian Research Centre (NORCE) and the University of Bergen, Norway, and colleagues.

Children and adolescents with divorced or separated parents are known to do less well in school than adolescents with nondivorced parents and to be less well-adjusted, on average, across a spectrum of physical and mental health outcomes. In the new study, researchers used data from the youth@hordaland study, a population-based survey of adolescents aged 16-19 conducted in the spring of 2012 in Hordaland County, Norway. 19,439 adolescents were invited to participate and 10,257 agreed; of those, 9,166 are included in the current study.

Overall, adolescents with divorced parents had a 0.3 point lower GPA than their peers.

After controlling for paternal education and income measures, divorce was associated with a 0.120 point decrease in GPA among adolescents whose mothers had a secondary school education level; a 0.175 point decrease when mothers had a Bachelor's level education; and a 0.209 point decrease when mothers had a Master's or Ph.D. level education.