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Robert Hughes, Jr.
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Robert Hughes, Jr. is Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He earned his Ph.D. in 1980.

For the past 30 years he has been interested in understanding and helping families who experience transitions due to divorce and other stressful experiences. He is committed to translating scientific knowledge about families into practical ideas to assist parents and children.

More about his teaching and research is here:

Find out more about divorce issues at:

Entries by Robert Hughes, Jr.

Is the US Divorce Rate Going Up Rather Than Going Down?

(0) Comments | Posted March 6, 2014 | 11:27 AM

For almost three decades, population experts have pointed to the US Census data and other federal sources of information about divorce and concluded that the divorce rate peaked in the late 1970s and has been declining since then. This seems to be wrong.

A recent report by...

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How Can Divorcing Parents Help Their Children?

(3) Comments | Posted December 11, 2012 | 11:35 AM

In 2011, over 6 million children in the United States were living with divorced parents. Despite the declining divorce rate, the US Census Bureau estimates that each year, the parents of over 1 million children get divorced.

Over 30 years of scientific study of the...

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Can Marriage Education Help Army Marriages with Infidelity?

(4) Comments | Posted November 27, 2012 | 11:15 AM

General David Petraeus' recent resignation has brought increased attention to the issue of infidelity in the military. Long periods of deployment and other marriage stresses including a spouse's susceptibility to danger, injury and so forth increase the challenges faced by military couples and can increase strains within their...

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Can Communication Technology Help Postdivorce Coparenting?

(8) Comments | Posted November 15, 2012 | 11:15 AM

One of the major challenges divorce parents face is how to communicate effectively post-split, without major arguments. Self-help guides and divorced parenting programs regularly include strategies and suggestions about how to maintain a cordial working relationship with a former spouse. Why? Because one of the most consistent findings...

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Are Baby Boomers Still Pushing Up the Divorce Rate?

(51) Comments | Posted November 2, 2012 | 1:00 PM

The Baby Boom generation has had a large effect on demographic trends over the past 50 years. In young adulthood, they pushed up the divorce rate to unprecedented numbers, which raised many questions about the impact of divorce on their children. Now that this generation is mostly over 50 years...

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Does Parental Divorce Take A Toll On The Long-Term Physical Health Of Children?

(74) Comments | Posted October 9, 2012 | 12:20 PM

For over three decades, scientists and clinicians have documented the effects of divorce on the psychological well-being of children. (See Paul Amato, Journal of Marriage and Family, 2010 for a summary). Recently, researchers have begun to explore new potential outcomes of divorce.

Troxel and Matthews recently

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Do Doubts About Getting Married Predict Divorce?

(135) Comments | Posted September 10, 2012 | 2:45 AM

"Do you still want to get married?" my mother-in-law asked my future wife on the day we were to be married. Her intuition told her to be alert to premarital doubts, and she wanted to make sure my wife wanted to go through with the marriage. According to a new...

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Does Cohabitation Cause Divorce Or A Better Marriage?

(327) Comments | Posted August 16, 2012 | 2:30 AM

Should you live with your future spouse before tying the knot? Does cohabitation provide a good trial run for marriage or is it just a sign of a lack of commitment? Research evidence on this frequently debated topic has been mixed over the last decade. What does the science say...

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Do Genes Explain Why Divorce Affects Children In Different Ways?

(13) Comments | Posted August 8, 2012 | 12:25 PM

One of the most consistent research findings that explore the effects of divorce on children is that the results are inconsistent. Yes, that is what I meant to write. Thirty years of scientific study have concluded that there are no simple answers to the question about how children will be...

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Does Religion Help Or Hurt Divorce Adjustment?

(10) Comments | Posted August 2, 2012 | 12:26 PM

Most people who divorce report considerable distress and unhappiness in the short term, but over time, there is considerable variation in adjustment. There have been many studies of the factors that contribute to divorce adjustment, but in general, most scientists have overlooked the religious aspects of divorce. This is surprising...

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What About Divorce Among Same-Sex Couples?

(88) Comments | Posted July 10, 2012 | 12:15 PM

The media has been increasingly focused on the legal circumstances of same-sex marriage while overlooking the even more complex situation of same-sex divorce.

Counting the number of same-sex couples is difficult, but trying to count the number of dissolutions is even more difficult. The best report with...

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What Role Should Judges Play In Divorce Disputes?

(4) Comments | Posted June 22, 2012 | 12:30 PM

When parents seeking a divorce are unable to settle on a co-parenting plan, they often end up in front of a judge. In many cases, judges play the role of authoritative decision-maker who resolve the differences between the parents and decide the outcome. However, Noel Semple recently published...

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Does Extramarital Sex Cause Divorce?

(442) Comments | Posted June 9, 2012 | 4:40 AM

Does extramarital sex cause divorce?

The answer seems to be common sense. Ask anyone about whether having an affair affects marriage and they will likely say that infidelity is severely damaging. So what has been the view of family scientists and clinicians?

Until very recently, there was a...

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How Guilt, Shame and Regret Drive Divorce Decisions

(12) Comments | Posted May 28, 2012 | 2:05 AM

Guilt, shame and regret are common emotions that are experienced during the divorce process. Regardless of the circumstances of the divorce, both husbands and wives are likely to experience various amounts of these emotions. Anne Wietzker, Ann Buysse, Tom Loeys and Ruben Brondeel at Ghent University in Belgium have done...

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How Happy Are Adolescents Living In Different Family Types In Western Countries?

(5) Comments | Posted April 26, 2012 | 12:05 PM

Far too much of the research discussed in the American press focuses exclusively on studies that are done with American children. By only looking at the American experience, we may miss the cultural and social conditions that will better help us understand the life experience of children.

Recently, Thoroddur...

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How To Prevent Litigation In Divorce Disputes

(14) Comments | Posted March 27, 2012 | 12:35 PM

Almost everyone involved in divorce becomes frustrated by the legal process. Both mothers and fathers feel like the system works against them. In recent years, there has been accumulating evidence that mediation can prevent many of the legal hassles faced by parents and prevent harmful court fights over custody and...

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What Happens To Shared Parenting Arrangements Among High-Conflict Couples Over Time?

(18) Comments | Posted March 6, 2012 | 11:30 AM

Increasingly, parents and the public are in favor of shared parenting arrangements following divorce. A report that measured public opinion by Sanford Braver and his colleagues indicated that almost 70 percent of the public favors equal time (50-50) when both parents have been involved with parenting prior...

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Why Do Happy Newlyweds Eventually Divorce?

(979) Comments | Posted February 18, 2012 | 1:30 PM

In recent years, there have been several studies that suggest that some happy and satisfied newlyweds were still getting divorced. Paul Amato and Bryndl Hohmann-Marriott's 2007 research is one such example; they found that there was a surprising number low-distress couples that were splitting up.

These findings...

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Will Divorce increase your Chances of Early Death?

(696) Comments | Posted December 3, 2011 | 3:00 PM

Nearly 2 million people in the United States and many more in the world are impacted by divorce each year. There have been a variety of studies that have hinted that divorce may be linked to the increased chance of an early death, but overall the evidence has...

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How Good are Online Divorce Education Programs?

(11) Comments | Posted November 11, 2011 | 2:00 AM

Most divorcing parents with minor children are required to participate in a divorce education program in order to get divorced. A recent estimate suggests that almost all states have this requirement. These programs focus on strategies that parents can use to minimize conflict and to develop effective parenting plans that...

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