ABSTRACT

Since the late 1950s, the subject of divorce has aroused considerable academic interest, beginning with Nye's (1957) seminal and revolutionary study of children from "broken" and "unhappy unbroken" homes. Nye reported that children from broken homes showed similar or better social adjustment than their counterparts in unhappy intact families. Nye had thereby thrown down the gauntlet, challenging theorists and researchers in a broad spectrum of disciplines who had assumed that the nuclear family, with its fixed roles and prescribed functions, was the only setting in which normal growth and development could occur. The initial and most serious challenge was to the notions about the father's role in the subsequent development of his children. Following the publication of Nye's work, there followed more than a decade of research on the varying effects of the father's absence, chiefly regarding the development of male children.