Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education Specialist (EdS)




The influential aspects of a parental divorce on children may not solely depend upon the divorce but may include other variables such as exposure to high levels of parental and familial conflict. How these experiences are manifested within a child is an important question to be answered. In the past it was believed that the experiences related to parental divorce decreased the child's ability to compete scholastically with peers that came from non-divorced families. What this study examined was whether there is a difference between hindering· learning and hindering performance. To detect differences between the two, it is proposed that decreases in the child's grade point average (GPA) reflect performance, a lack of knowledge application. In order to determine whether or not a lack of learning has occurred, one must look at the child's performance on a standardized achievement test (i.e. the Iowa Tests of Educational Development/ITED). This study examined the effects of divorce and conflict on GPA and ITED scores in an attempt to show where and when changes in the child's learning take place. It was found that presence of parental divorce or perceived familial conflict has a detrimental effect on a student's academic achievement as measured by GPA. Additionally, it was predicted and found that family constellation and gender congruence mediate the performance as measured by GPA. Students that expressed high levels of perceived conflict and had a parental remarriage of a same­ sex custodial parent showed significantly lower academic achievement.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Psychology and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1996 Michael John Hall.