The Effects of Parental Divorce on Young Adults’ Intimate Relationships: Implications for Counseling Jane Slomski November...
Issue and Application <ul><li>Past research has shown that parental divorce creates difficulty for children in their own i...
Attachment Theory <ul><li>Bowlby’s attachment theory: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ability to form lasting adult relationships de...
Divorce and Attachment <ul><li>Hayashi & Strickland: Divorce as an Attachment Disruption </li></ul><ul><li>Hypothesis: Chi...
Integration of Divorce Experience <ul><li>Shulman et. al: “integration” occurs when one can look back on experience with i...
Divorce & Trust <ul><li>Past research has found parental divorce related to general lack of trust in intimate relationship...
Inter-Parental Conflict <ul><li>Riggio: Adults who report high level of conflict in parents’ marriages also report lower l...
Divorce During Adolescence <ul><li>Richardson & McCabe: children whose parents divorced during their adolescence reported ...
Implications for Young Adults’ Intimate Relationships <ul><li>Wolfinger: inter-generational transmission theory- children ...
Relationship Ideals  <ul><li>Conway et al: compared relationship ideals of  intimacy and loyalty vs. passion  between adul...
Religion & Divorce <ul><li>There is a widespread need for education about and understanding of divorce in religious commun...
Marriage Counseling Steps <ul><li>Couples counseling should focus on tackling problems as a team, not on the couple as ind...
PREP (Preventative Relationship Enhancement Program) <ul><li>Works with both secular and religious groups  </li></ul><ul><...
Conclusions <ul><li>Parental divorce does not necessarily mean divorce is inevitable for children </li></ul><ul><li>High q...
Conclusions <ul><li>Awareness  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Communication; discussion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pre-marital or m...
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The effects-of-parental-divorce-on-young-adults

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

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