Turned up to eleven: Fair and Balanced

Tuesday, January 29, 2002

On the point from the post 2 back, I only found one story on Lexis-Nexis about divorce rate declining, and that was in England and Wales (although it does mention the cohabitation explanation). The academic researcher mentioned earlier, E. Mavis Hetherington (see her very spare home page here, and buy the bookhere), presents evidence that divorced parents do not inflict lasting harm on their children, above and beyond that inflicted by unhappy parents. A recent book by another psychology professor put forth the opposite view, that staying together no matter what was better for the children. The latter was trumpeted by the conservative press, and got lots of airplay on NPR as well as other "mainstream" media. This more recent book, which at least calls those conclusions to question, is not (yet) getting much play, although Airtalk on KPCC (LA NPR) did have a discussion with the author. The earlier book was based on ~60 case studies from the Berkeley area, as I recall, while this more recent book is based on a much larger sample (1400 couples, 2500 children), followed over 32 years. Interestingly, neither study is being published in academic journals, a point which I did not hear made in interviews with either investigator. There may be a good reason for it (too large a study, not suitable to journal format), but since the question was never asked, I guess I will remain clueless about it. I will be watch Lexis-Nexis, however, to see if it becomes "part of the zeitgeist", as they say!!