Divorce

Divorce: Crisis, Challenge, Or Relief?

David A. Chiriboga
Linda S. Catron
Copyright Date: 1991
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 336
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qg3cf
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  • Book Info
    Divorce
    Book Description:

    Not since William Goode's Women in Divorce in the 1950's have we had such a comprehensive study of adjustment to divorce. This longitudinal work views divorce as a transition process which may have positive or negative outcomes over time. In addition to statistical analysis, the book includes very interesting case studies to demonstrate the dynamic events occurring as individuals refashion their lives after the breakup of their marriages. Researchers on divorce and the interested public will find this book very valuable for years to come." - Colleen L. Johnson, Ph.D.ProfessorMedical Anthropology, University of California, San Francisco We are witnessing a steady increase in the overall number of older adults who are divorced, yet the majority of divorce research has concerned itself with persons in the younger adult years. This unique, groundbreaking book addresses the critical need for information on the impact of divorce on individuals in all age groups, and pays special attention to age as a factor in the effects of divorce on both men and women. Written by an interdisciplinary team of social and behavioral scientists, Divorce: Crisis, Challenge or Relief? provides the invaluable results gained from their life span study of divorced adults. Divorce is the product of hundreds of interviews containing a host of very specific questions conducted with divorced adults between the ages of 20 and 79, both just after their divorce and again several years later.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-2364-7
    Subjects: Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    DAVID A. CHIRIBOGA and LINDA S. CATRON
  5. 1 INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-10)
    David A. Chiriboga

    The social phenomenon we call divorce has gone from the unusual and suspect to the common and socially accepted in the United States in a space of less than thirty years. After a temporary surge in divorces immediately following World War II, when the soldiers returned home, there was a period of stability until the mid-1950s. From 1957 to 1977, the incidence of divorce in the United States among persons 44 years or younger more than doubled, while marriage rates began a slow decline (Glick 1984). For some social scientists the converging rates of marriage and divorce heralded the impending...

  6. I STRESS AND ADAPTATION

    • 2 CHILDHOOD STRESS AND ADAPTATION TO DIVORCE: A SHAPING CONDITION
      (pp. 13-37)
      Linda S. Catron and David A. Chiriboga

      In this chapter we consider the first of the questions that form the focus of this book. This question concerns whether or not early childhood experiences affect how an adult functions during a divorce: there is evidence that early losses may set the stage for a heightened response to losses that are experienced later in life. In other words, childhood stress may represent a risk factor.

      From a historical perspective, interest in the long-term influence of childhood experiences is relatively recent. Probably the earliest discussion can be found in Freud’s ([1933] 1964) theory of psychosexual development, which called attention to...

    • 3 DIVORCE STRESS AND ADAPTATION
      (pp. 38-73)
      David A. Chiriboga and Linda S. Catron

      In this chapter we continue to explore the many ways in which the stress process affects the experiences and well-being of men and women, some of the ways in which respondents attempted to cope with divorce, and what seems to set apart those who have more or less stress.

      The prevalence of divorce assumes particular importance when viewed in the context of its association with numerous health problems. For example, the separated and divorced manifest a higher rate of suicide (Trovato 1987; Zeiss, Zeiss and Johnston 1980; Stack 1989), mortality (United Nations 1987), and morbidity (Holmes and Masuda 1974; Nystrom...

    • 4 COPING STRATEGIES IN DIVORCE
      (pp. 74-94)
      David A. Chiriboga

      In the preceding chapter we examined some of the stressors that may affect divorcing men and women. We found that while stressors were associated with greater symptomatology in both the long and short runs, they did not explain everything about symptom levels. One reason may be that people vary greatly in how they cope with the stressors of divorce.

      Coping is a term we use to try to explain why some people thrive and others fail in response to the same basic conditions of life. Although the word is widely used, there is considerable disagreement, dating back to the time...

  7. II PERSPECTIVES ON TRANSITIONS

    • 5 PASSAGE THROUGH DIVORCE: A TRANSITIONS PERSPECTIVE
      (pp. 97-124)
      Linda S. Catron and David A. Chiriboga

      Jim sits at the small kitchen table, staring intently at the interviewer. A tall and lanky 35-year-old white male, he has been separated for less than two months and is in the middle of his first interview with us. Spread before him lies a sheet of paper on which the interviewer has asked Jim to draw a life graph. “You know,” he says, “I really don’t think I can tell you what I think next year will be like. Or the year after that. Right now my life ends right here (he taps emphatically at a point representing the present...

    • 6 PASSAGE THROUGH DIVORCE: TIMING ISSUES
      (pp. 125-148)
      David A. Chiriboga and Linda S. Catron

      In Chapter 5 we discussed a model of transitions appropriate for modern societies, and presented findings illustrating several basic concepts associated with transitions theory. Here we advance the basic transitions model one step further by adding an important but understudied dimension: the passage of time. We will be looking at two issues. First, what points along the pathway to divorce were reported to be most difficult, as well as least difficult, for respondents. Second, does the speed of passage through at least the early stages of divorce seem to make any difference in the mental health of people as assessed...

  8. III VIEWS OF THE SELF AND OTHERS

    • 7 THE SELF-CONCEPT OF DIVORCING PERSONS
      (pp. 151-173)
      Cathy Birtley Fenn, David A. Chiriboga and Linda S. Catron

      Emmy Lou, the 39-year-old black woman first introduced in chapter 6, sits on her hidabed sofa, talking to the interviewer. “Since my separation,” she comments, “I don’t have as much faith in people as I had before, and I will never put that much faith and trust in one person again…. [I feel] less confidence, [suffer from] lack of self-esteem, no assertiveness—all those good things. I’m trying to get those back.” In contrast to Emmy Lou, 40-year-old George Worthington, a white male, feels “a lot more confident. I’m living by myself, doing things on my own. I’m having to...

    • 8 VIEWS OF THE OTHER: ISSUES OF SELF-IMAGE AND IDENTIFICATION
      (pp. 174-192)
      Ann Coho, David A. Chiriboga and Linda S. Catron

      In the last chapter we discussed the self-image of our divorcing subjects, and compared their self-images with those of persons undergoing more normative transitions. We found that in some dimensions there were signs of deterioration in the self-image of those in the throes of marital dissolution, but there were also clear indications that this was a toughening or growth experience for many, and that there was movement in the direction of a more positive sense of self by the time of the follow-up.

      Our interest in self-image was sparked by the assumption that divorce may rob many people of major...

  9. IV CONTRIBUTING FACTORS

    • 9 SOCIAL SUPPORTS IN THE CONTEXT OF DIVORCE
      (pp. 195-223)
      Leah Friedman, David A. Chiriboga and Linda S. Catron

      In this chapter we shall navigate that extensive but foggy terrain known as social support, investigating the role that support plays in short- and long-term adaptation to divorce. Social support is one of those concepts that seems intuitively obvious until one asks oneself what it actually refers to. In point of fact, the term is often applied to quite different phenomena, which is one reason why the research findings often seem in conflict. But although there is no consensus about its definition, there is some agreement (see Thoits 1982; Turner, Frankel and Levin 1983) as to the utility of Cobb’s...

    • 10 WHO LEAVES WHOM: THE IMPORTANCE OF CONTROL
      (pp. 224-247)
      H. B. Wilder and David A. Chiriboga

      Each of the preceding chapters has examined factors that contribute to the tremendous variability in how people respond to separation and divorce. One psychological factor suggested to have major importance but which has been examined only superficially in past studies is control over the initiation of divorce. Those who have considered it seem to agree (e.g., Weiss 1976; Krantzler 1973) that control is a pivotal concept in understanding people’s reactions to divorce. Unfortunately, control is also a concept that is difficult to measure because people’s reports of control are subject to the vagaries of social desirability, self-justification and other problems...

    • 11 MINORITY ISSUES IN THE STUDY OF DIVORCE
      (pp. 248-279)
      Barbara Yee, David A. Chiriboga and Linda S. Catron

      As we reviewed the analyses for this book, we found to our chagrin and dismay that we had fallen into a common analytic trap. Because we lacked large numbers of minority respondents, we generally “control” for the effect of minority status in our discussions. While controlling for minority status allows us to make broader generalizations about the findings, it also means that we have not, up to this point, paid particular attention to subgroup differences. To correct the omission, this chapter provides information about the fate of those in the sample who represented minority populations.

      The specific groups we will...

    • 12 RISK FACTORS IN DIVORCE: A LIFE COURSE PERSPECTIVE
      (pp. 280-292)
      David A. Chiriboga

      Although there are many things that can be said about divorce, perhaps the most general is that few go through the experience without emerging as a different person. “Stripped to its bare essentials,” as Maury and Brandwein (1984, 193) notes, “divorce is a major change.” The changes are pervasive, and involve both self and one’s relations with the outer world. The multiple demands placed upon individuals as a result of these changes, may be ignored, denied or confronted, but ignored, denied or confronted, each response is a step towards shaping a new life. In this chapter we will review some...

  10. REFERENCES
    (pp. 293-312)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 313-319)