Parental addiction, conflicts and marital disruption: perception of adult children of divorced parents

Nataša Rijavec Klobučar



Divorce is a stressful event often combined with spouse conflict which significantly affects the way children experience the consequences of family reorganization. Various factors contribute to the impact of divorce on child development, one of the most decisive being the quality of parental relationship prior to, during and after divorce.

The article addresses one main question how spouses’ conflict during the process of divorce is intertwined with a child’s experience.  

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 adult children (7 men and 13 women)  from divorced families. Adults ranged in age 21 to 42 years old.  Five to twenty years passed from their parents’ divorce.

The results show that in the cases of violent parents’ relationships or family relationships with addiction prior to divorce, the participants experienced relief when the nuclear family dissolved; however, in most cases conflict between parents persisted after divorce, the child being torn between both parents. When the conflict between the parents is combined with various addictions, the consequences for the child are even more devastating. In most cases, children were left to themselves.

The findings of this study can therefore contribute to creating various forms of educational, consulting, or therapeutic help.


Divorce, addiction, conflict, parenthood, consequences



Cited by

Rijavec Klobučar, N. (2022). Parental addiction, conflicts and marital disruption: perception of adult children of divorced parents. Family Forum, 11, 253–266.


Nataša Rijavec Klobučar



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