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  • Writer's pictureCaitlyn Mayer

Consequences of Marital and Divorce Conflict:

Save the Health of You and Your Child(ren) with Mediation

Source: Wix Media

The end of a relationship does not necessarily indicate the end of the conflict between former spouses or partners. This is especially so with couples who have children because it will be difficult to avoid contact, thus leading to ample opportunities for continued or post-divorce conflict.[1] After the termination of a marriage, sometimes more potential conflict opportunities arise, such as property division, spousal support, custody, visitation, child support, etc.

Although conflict is a normal part of marriage and divorce, excessive conflict can negatively affect individual mental and physical health, family health, and child well-being. Research has highlighted links between marital and divorce conflict and mental health issues such as depression, eating disorders, being physically and/or psychologically abusive to your current partner or ex-partner, and male alcohol problems. Research has also found associations between marital and divorce conflict and poorer physical health. Hostile relationship contact has been linked to increased blood pressure and vascular resistance. The extent of the hostility has also been related to a negative effect on hormone levels; however, this tends to affect women more hormonally than men. Although the way conflict is expressed matters most regarding overall physical health, regardless of the style of expression, simply disagreeing with someone negatively affects the body.[2]

Regarding familial and child well-being, marital and divorce conflict is connected to poorer parenting, problematic parent-child attachments, and a greater frequency and intensity of parent-child or sibling-sibling conflict. These conflicts can be especially harmful to children when the disputes are centered around child-rearing or other issues related to the child(ren). Research has revealed numerous problematic effects of marital and divorce conflict on children, including health problems, depression, anxiety, conduct problems, and low self-esteem. Although children can be highly distressed by the verbal and physical conflict between parents, they can be reassured by healthy conflict resolution. When children see parents engaging in calm discussions while engaged in a conflict, they tend to react more positively, especially when they see parents compromising with each other to resolve their differences.[3]

Mediation can be an opportunity for couples to actively avoid excessive negative conflict for the benefit and well-being of the individual parties and the children. The mediation process allows divorces, custody battles, etc., to progress in a smooth and orderly fashion. Rather than spending an excessive amount of money on court costs and attorney fees, mediation is a cheaper, less- stressful option. Mediation can be done behind the confidential, closed doors of a mediator who will act as an unbiased third party to help you resolve conflict as quickly and positively as possible, thus preventing or limiting many of the problems mentioned above.


[1] Yeager, E. O. “High Conflict Couple Interaction and the Role of Relative Power.” Sociology Compass ¾ (2009):672-688

[2] Wright, B. & Loving, T. “Health Implications of Conflict in Close Relationships.” Social and Personality Psychology Compass 5/8 (2011):552-562

[3] Goeke-Morey, M.C., Cummings, E.M., and Papp, L.M. “Children and Marital Conflict Resolution: Implications for Emotional Security and Adjustment.” Journal of Family Psychology 21,4 (2007): 744-753

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