• Mankwane Daisy Makofane Social Work, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa.
  • Olivia Mahlatse Mogoane Social Work, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa.


A family is regarded as the main social institution that structures the lives, activities and relations of women, men and children (Thornton, Axinn & Xie, 2007:3). It is the basic unit of society that plays a vital role in the lives of all people, especially with regard to the survival, protection and development of children who are below the age of 18 years (Patel, 2005:167). It is against this backdrop that divorce, which is the legal dissolution of a marriage (Barker, 1995:106), is often a painful and a stressful process for parents and children (Afifi, Huber & Ohs, 2006:2; Yu, Pettit, Lansford, Dodge & Bates, 2010:283), especially adolescents. Family disruption is difficult for adolescents to adapt to, as they are going through a developmental stage characterised by changes in their physical growth, sexual development, cognitive abilities and identity development (Barton, Watkins & Jarjoura, 1997:488; Videon, 2002:489). Hines (1997:375) aptly states that parental divorce “promotes growth for some adolescents and developmental vulnerabilities to others”.


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