Divorce researcher seeks subjects

Vikki Stark is studying the effects on children of the moment when parents reveal their plans to divorce. - Photo submitted
Vikki Stark is studying the effects on children of the moment when parents reveal their plans to divorce.
— image credit: Photo submitted

A Montreal-based psychotherapist and family counsellor is looking for North Island input into her groundbreaking  study on divorce and children.

Vikki Stark is a researcher studying the effects of the moment of revelation for children when they learn their parents are divorcing.

“I’m looking for participants in my study,” Starksaid.

“Either adults who were kids or teens when their parents divorced, or current kids or teens who can participate with the consent or help of a parent.”

Stark, the author of two books also based on large studies — My Sister, My Self and Runaway Husbands — said her current research could be vital because it could lead to providing parents in the future with the gold-standard in terms of how to tell the kids about the split.

“The moment you hear your spouse wants to leave — even if you’ve been fighting and going to marriage counseling or whatever  — it’s a shock and a huge turning point,” she said.

“Yet for kids whose whole family changes in the course of five minutes, we don’t really relate to the level at which that moment of revelation has. For the rest of their lives they’re going to divide their childhood in half ... it becomes that watershed moment that divides their childhood.”

Stark said she believes the current literature on the subject simply does not delve deep enough into that moment in a way it could be better understood.

“There’s a lot in any book about children and divorce, there’s a few paragraphs about how to tell the kids, ‘Don’t do it like this, do it like that, say this, tell them it’s not their fault,’” she said.

“You know, all of the same platitudes are trotted out all the time; but the importance of this research is we’re actually going to hear the voices of people who were kids or teens when their parents were divorced and what struck them, what hurt them, what helped them, what was said that was important, what were their worries, and these will help parents shape how they’re going to make this presentation.”

Anyone interested in participating in the research can do so online at:

– Mike D'Amour/Black Press


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