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    The effects-of-parental-divorce-on-young-adults The effects-of-parental-divorce-on-young-adults Presentation Transcript

    • The Effects of Parental Divorce on Young Adults’ Intimate Relationships: Implications for Counseling Jane Slomski November 28, 2005
    • Issue and Application
      • Past research has shown that parental divorce creates difficulty for children in their own intimate relationships when they reach adulthood
      • To what extent is this true and what can be done to help couples with concerns about their own marital stability?
      • Application: People who come from religious backgrounds have difficulty seeking help from their spiritual communities
      • Provide awareness and education
    • Attachment Theory
      • Bowlby’s attachment theory:
        • Ability to form lasting adult relationships depends on attachment to adults in childhood
        • Secure attachment = supportive, encouraging parents who set boundaries and realistic expectations
        • Insecure attachment = overprotective, unrealistic expectations; foster dependence in children; children more likely to be in unhealthy, insecure, dependent relationships
    • Divorce and Attachment
      • Hayashi & Strickland: Divorce as an Attachment Disruption
      • Hypothesis: Children who experience parental divorce will fare worse because attachment to parental figures is disrupted by trauma of divorce
      • Found that divorce itself not a factor in attachment to parents
      • A healthy relationship with at least one parental figure (not necessarily biological) during divorce allowed for healthy resolution of divorce experience
      • Love & Murdock: Intact and stepfamilies have same need for attachment and stepparents can satisfy need for attachment
    • Integration of Divorce Experience
      • Shulman et. al: “integration” occurs when one can look back on experience with insight and acknowledge reality while looking forward to future
      • Children with “integrated” perception of parents’ divorce reported positive experiences, fulfilling relationships and better self esteem than those who were not “integrated.” (Inability to remember details, denial; of parents’ divorce linked to insecurity and lack of trust in relationships)
    • Divorce & Trust
      • Past research has found parental divorce related to general lack of trust in intimate relationships
      • Need for commitment and attachment may lead to unhealthily dependent relationships
      • King: Secure attachment cannot exist without trust
      • Effects of divorce on trust not significant if secure attachment to at least one adult in childhood
      • More likely to form close relationships with mothers
    • Inter-Parental Conflict
      • Riggio: Adults who report high level of conflict in parents’ marriages also report lower levels of satisfaction with own intimate relationships
      • Have seen parents’ marriages fail
      • Bring maladaptive conflict resolution styles to own relationships
      • Feel less anxiety about entering relationship (possibly due to more realistic expectations and recognition of divorce as an option?) (contrary to other research)
      • May be hyper-vigilant about conflict in own relationship
    • Divorce During Adolescence
      • Richardson & McCabe: children whose parents divorced during their adolescence reported more stress, anxiety, depression, fewer social interactions, and lower self concept than those in intact families
      • “ Spillover” effect- conflict from parents spills over into young adults’ own relationships
      • Did not have significant effect on opposite sex relations; teenagers may rely more on outside sources for emotional support
    • Implications for Young Adults’ Intimate Relationships
      • Wolfinger: inter-generational transmission theory- children of divorced parents are more likely to marry other children also from divorced parents
      • Family structure homogamy- we form families similar to the ones we were raised in
      • Spouses who were both raised in divorced households have increased chances of divorce themselves
      • Bring maladaptive communication skills learned from parents to own marriage
      • Marrying young = not adequate time to develop effective communication skills
      • ACD more likely to marry young; in search of commitment and acceptance
    • Relationship Ideals
      • Conway et al: compared relationship ideals of intimacy and loyalty vs. passion between adult children of divorce and children from intact families
      • ACD- rated intimacy/loyalty higher than those from intact families as a whole; affection, stability, commitment, support, acceptance
      • Male ACD rated more ideals higher as a whole than males from intact families
    • Religion & Divorce
      • There is a widespread need for education about and understanding of divorce in religious communities
      • Clergy leaders report feeling inadequately prepared to counsel those having marital difficulties
      • Many religious sects discourage divorce to the point that those having marital problems are ashamed to ask for help
      • People are unaware of the many resources available to them
      • Experience depression, anxiety, isolation, despair
      • Feel rejected by religious community that was previously a source of support
      • Important for counselors to be sensitive the importance of spirituality in the lives of their clients
    • Marriage Counseling Steps
      • Couples counseling should focus on tackling problems as a team, not on the couple as individuals
      • View problems as separate from the relationship
      • Focus on strengths of each person and how strengths can contribute to solving the problem; emphasize intimacy, trust and teamwork
        • Set common goals/ remove individual blame
        • Realize that the problem is solvable
        • Come up with a solution
        • Make mutual commitment to long term change
        • Enact the solution behavior; solve the problem
        • Maintain the behavior; backtrack if necessary
        • Address how to solve problems in the future
    • PREP (Preventative Relationship Enhancement Program)
      • Works with both secular and religious groups
      • Equal success with both lay and clergy leaders
      • Basic premise: harmful interaction patterns that threaten the security of the spousal relationship can be changed (criticism)
      • Makes people aware of these patterns and how they can avoid and conquer marital problems before they head for divorce
      • Couples who participated in PREP reported fewer negative interactions and more positive interactions than those in other secular marriage counseling programs
    • Conclusions
      • Parental divorce does not necessarily mean divorce is inevitable for children
      • High quality attachment to adult figure is correlated with better outcome of divorce for children
      • Trust is correlated with secure attachment
      • Inter-parental conflict is significant to psychological adjustment but may be lessened by social influences outside the home
      • There is a tendency to form families like those we were raised in; children of divorce tend to marry each other; promote maladaptive behaviors
    • Conclusions
      • Awareness
        • Communication; discussion
        • Pre-marital or marital counseling
      • Religious organizations can be better prepared to help couples with problems
      • Support those considering divorce in religious communities
        • No shame in asking for help
        • Early intervention might cut down on number of divorces