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Dr. Allison R. Thorson, Department of Communication Studies                   University of San Francisco – March 5, 2011 ...
General information on divorce and infidelityThe Research◦ Discovery of Infidelity    Inappropriate Parental Divorce Discl...
Occurs regularlyViewed as a violation to a social normGenerally detrimental to the relationship and theindividuals who dis...
Relationship ChangeAfifi (W), Falato, and                                       ForgivenessWeiner’s (2001)                ...
Thorson (2007)                                       Relationship                               7                     Sati...
Lack of                   Lack ofSupport                   Control             Parent’s            Percep. of             ...
When a parent does not                          Lack of                   Lack ofhave support or control   Support        ...
Lack of support andLack of                   Lack of          control also influence aSupport                   Control   ...
Lack of                   Lack of                                   Support                   ControlThere is a positive c...
Lack of                   Lack ofSupport                   Control                                                 There i...
Lack of                   Lack of                              Support                   Control                          ...
Lack of                   Lack ofSupport                   Control             Parent’s            Percep. of             ...
Some additional factors that influence child well-being◦   Talk about stressful events◦   Attributions / Sense-making◦   R...
Thorson (2009): Families (Adult Children) formedrules to determine why, to whom, when they coulddiscuss this◦ Protection r...
Thorson (2009): Families (Adult Children) formedrules to determine why, to whom, when they coulddiscuss this◦ Protection r...
Protection rule: (maintenance example) “When we (me and my sister) got home we put my little  brother to bed. My mom didn’...
Thorson (2009): Families (Adult Children) formedrules to determine why, to whom, when they coulddiscuss this◦ Protection r...
Access rule:“It would come, and it still kind of does sometimes, like if we watch a movie with cheating or somebody doing ...
Thorson (2011): The way we make sense of things(why it happened / occurred matters)           External forces OR Internal ...
Thorson (2011): The way we make sense of things (why it happened / occurred matters)                 External forces OR In...
Account                           Underlying Attributional Dimension(s)Dysfunction/Deficiency            Internal & Extern...
Inability to produce an account or attribution oftenstifles one’s ability to communicate about events(associated with grea...
Thorson (2007 & in progress): What consequences,if any, do children experience after becomingaware of their parents’ infid...
What consequences, if any, do children experienceafter becoming aware of their parents’ infidelity?◦ Structural changes in...
Thorson (2010 & in progress): What is the processby which we forgive our family members forengaging in infidelity?
Established model of how forgiveness occursamong couples experiencing infidelity: Apology           Empathy           Forg...
When bringing in literature from communication:                                                Rel. Apology       Empathy ...
Rel. Apology       Empathy       Forgiveness   SatisfactionForgiveness                  Forgiveness Seeking      Attributi...
Complete apologies resulted in positively biasedattributions (external locus of control,uncontrollable, and unstable)The a...
General information on divorce and infidelityThe Research◦ Discovery of Infidelity    Inappropriate Parental Divorce Discl...
Dr. Allison R. Thorson, Department of Communication Studies                   University of San Francisco – March 5, 2011 ...
Afifi, W. A., Falato, W. L., & Weiner, J. L. (2001). Identity concerns following a severe   relational transgression: The ...
Thorson, A. R. (2011). Parental infidelity: Adult children’s accounts and attributions for  their parents’ extramarital re...
Afifi, T. D., Afifi, W. A., Morse, C. R., & Hamrick, K. (2008). Adolescents avoidance   tendencies and physiological react...
Amato, P. R., & Cheadle, J. (2005). The long reach of divorce: Divorce and child well-being   across three generations. Jo...
Kids Turn Asilomar Training by Dr. Allison Thorson
Kids Turn Asilomar Training by Dr. Allison Thorson
Kids Turn Asilomar Training by Dr. Allison Thorson
Kids Turn Asilomar Training by Dr. Allison Thorson
Kids Turn Asilomar Training by Dr. Allison Thorson
Kids Turn Asilomar Training by Dr. Allison Thorson
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Kids Turn Asilomar Training by Dr. Allison Thorson

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Presentation on "Marital Infidelity and the impact on children” by Kids' Turn Board member Dr. Allison R. Thorson, Department of Communication Studies University of San Francisco

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Kids Turn Asilomar Training by Dr. Allison Thorson

  1. 1. Dr. Allison R. Thorson, Department of Communication Studies University of San Francisco – March 5, 2011 Kids’ Turn Asilomar Retreat, Pacific Grove CA
  2. 2. General information on divorce and infidelityThe Research◦ Discovery of Infidelity Inappropriate Parental Divorce Disclosures◦ Privacy Management of Parental Infidelity◦ Attributions for Parental Infidelity◦ Consequences of Learning about Parental Infidelity◦ Forgiveness of Parent for Engaging in Infidelity
  3. 3. Occurs regularlyViewed as a violation to a social normGenerally detrimental to the relationship and theindividuals who discover it
  4. 4. Relationship ChangeAfifi (W), Falato, and ForgivenessWeiner’s (2001) 7 unsolicited third party 6 discovery ‘red handed’ discovery 5 solicited partner discovery4 and unsolicited partner discovery 3 2 *see Afifi et al., 2001, for actual measurement scaling. 1 Unsolicit. Solicited ‘Red Unsolicit. Partner Partner Handed’ 3rd Party
  5. 5. Thorson (2007) Relationship 7 Satisfaction Direct (none of the groups were Indirect 6 significantly different) 5Thorson (2008 & underreview) 4 from a family member 3 explicit discovery discovery from the parent 2 who cheated 1 incremental discovery third party discovery Parent Family Explicit Incremental 3rd Member Party
  6. 6. Lack of Lack ofSupport Control Parent’s Percep. of Parent’s Inappropriate Well-being Disclosure Child’s Perception of Child’s Parent’s Well-being Disclosure Afifi (T), McManus, Hutchinson, & Baker (2007)
  7. 7. When a parent does not Lack of Lack ofhave support or control Support Controlthey are more likely todisclose inappropriatethings to their child. Parent’s Percep. of Parent’s Inappropriate Well-being Disclosure Child’s Perception of Child’s Parent’s Well-being Disclosure Afifi (T), McManus, Hutchinson, & Baker (2007)
  8. 8. Lack of support andLack of Lack of control also influence aSupport Control parent’s well-being negatively. Parent’s Percep. of Parent’s Inappropriate Well-being Disclosure Child’s Perception of Child’s Parent’s Well-being Disclosure Afifi (T), McManus, Hutchinson, & Baker (2007)
  9. 9. Lack of Lack of Support ControlThere is a positive correlationbetween a parent’s perception Parent’sof inappropriate disclosure and Percep. of Parent’schild’s perception of a parent’s Inappropriate Well-being Disclosuredisclosure. What does thismeans? When parent’s think “Ishouldn’t have said that”, kidsagree with them – they feel thesame way. Child’s Perception of Child’s Parent’s Well-being Disclosure Afifi (T), McManus, Hutchinson, & Baker (2007)
  10. 10. Lack of Lack ofSupport Control There is a positive correlation between a parent’s well-being and a child’s well- Parent’s Percep. of Parent’s being. What does Inappropriate Well-being this means? When Disclosure parent’s are hurting so are their kids, and vice versa. Child’s Perception of Child’s Parent’s Well-being Disclosure Afifi (T), McManus, Hutchinson, & Baker (2007)
  11. 11. Lack of Lack of Support Control Parent’s Percep. of Parent’s Inappropriate Well-being DisclosureLast, when a child perceivesthey are learning inappropriate Child’s Perception of Child’sthings about their parents’ Parent’s Well-beingdivorce it effects their well- Disclosurebeing negatively. Afifi (T), McManus, Hutchinson, & Baker (2007)
  12. 12. Lack of Lack ofSupport Control Parent’s Percep. of Parent’s Inappropriate Well-being Disclosure Child’s Perception of Child’s Parent’s Well-being Disclosure Afifi (T), McManus, Hutchinson, & Baker (2007)
  13. 13. Some additional factors that influence child well-being◦ Talk about stressful events◦ Attributions / Sense-making◦ Related Consequences / Feeling caught◦ Forgiveness
  14. 14. Thorson (2009): Families (Adult Children) formedrules to determine why, to whom, when they coulddiscuss this◦ Protection rules◦ Access rules
  15. 15. Thorson (2009): Families (Adult Children) formedrules to determine why, to whom, when they coulddiscuss this◦ Protection rules Internal rules (Maintenance; Culture) External rule (Protection from Outside scrutiny)◦ Access rules
  16. 16. Protection rule: (maintenance example) “When we (me and my sister) got home we put my little brother to bed. My mom didn’t come home with us. We put my little brother to bed and told him, you know ‘she’s asleep, she’s not with us, she’s asleep, don’t worry about it. I’ll wake you up in the morning so you can go to school’. And when my dad called that night we did that same thing, ‘she’s in bed, she’s asleep, there’s no way waking her up’. So we just kind of covered up for her.” (“Crissy”: 253-257)
  17. 17. Thorson (2009): Families (Adult Children) formedrules to determine why, to whom, when they coulddiscuss this◦ Protection rules◦ Access rules Internal rules (Context, Sex, Age, Physical Environment, Code terms)
  18. 18. Access rule:“It would come, and it still kind of does sometimes, like if we watch a movie with cheating or somebody doing something like that. You know my mom will kind of look through my dad and maybe make a comment, you know, more towards me, of like, I’d be like ‘dang that’s messed up,’ she’s like, ‘yeah that is horrible. Can you imagine living through that? Can you imagine dealing with that,’ you know. And then my dad will turn and be like, ‘oh honey,’ and she’ll be like, ‘don’t touch me’.” (“Erica” 519-524)
  19. 19. Thorson (2011): The way we make sense of things(why it happened / occurred matters) External forces OR Internal forces Uncontrollable OR Controllable Stable OR Unstable
  20. 20. Thorson (2011): The way we make sense of things (why it happened / occurred matters) External forces OR Internal forcesNegatively (-) Positively (+) Uncontrollable OR Controllable valenced valenced Stable OR Unstable
  21. 21. Account Underlying Attributional Dimension(s)Dysfunction/Deficiency Internal & External locus of control, Stable, and UncontrollableJustifications/Excuses Unstable and UncontrollableRestoring Credibility/Character Unstable and UncontrollableBlame ‘offending’ parent blame Internal locus of control ‘faithful’ parent blame External locus of controlDenial of Parent Involvement External locus of control
  22. 22. Inability to produce an account or attribution oftenstifles one’s ability to communicate about events(associated with greater distress and rumination)
  23. 23. Thorson (2007 & in progress): What consequences,if any, do children experience after becomingaware of their parents’ infidelity?
  24. 24. What consequences, if any, do children experienceafter becoming aware of their parents’ infidelity?◦ Structural changes in the ◦ Revenge family ◦ Address terms◦ Stress / intense emotions ◦ Withholding responses◦ Dilemmas (feeling caught; 3 types) Interdependence Dishonesty Reluctant informant dilemmas
  25. 25. Thorson (2010 & in progress): What is the processby which we forgive our family members forengaging in infidelity?
  26. 26. Established model of how forgiveness occursamong couples experiencing infidelity: Apology Empathy Forgiveness
  27. 27. When bringing in literature from communication: Rel. Apology Empathy Forgiveness SatisfactionForgiveness Forgiveness Seeking Attributions Granting Well-being
  28. 28. Rel. Apology Empathy Forgiveness SatisfactionForgiveness Forgiveness Seeking Attributions Granting
  29. 29. Complete apologies resulted in positively biasedattributions (external locus of control,uncontrollable, and unstable)The addition of communication focused forgivenessvariables were usefulThe addition of attributions in this study add to ourunderstanding of forgiveness
  30. 30. General information on divorce and infidelityThe Research◦ Discovery of Infidelity Inappropriate Parental Divorce Disclosures◦ Privacy Management of Parental Infidelity◦ Attributions for Parental Infidelity◦ Consequences of Learning about Parental Infidelity◦ Forgiveness of Parent for Engaging in Infidelity
  31. 31. Dr. Allison R. Thorson, Department of Communication Studies University of San Francisco – March 5, 2011 Kids’ Turn Asilomar Retreat, Pacific Grove CA
  32. 32. Afifi, W. A., Falato, W. L., & Weiner, J. L. (2001). Identity concerns following a severe relational transgression: The role of discovery method for the relational outcomes of infidelity. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 18, 291-308.Afifi, T. D., McManus, T., Hutchinson, S., & Baker, B. (2007). Inappropriate parental divorce disclosures, the factors that prompt them, and their impact on parents’ and adolescents’ well-being. Communication Monographs, 74(1), p. 78 – 102.Thorson, A. R. (2009). Adult children’s experiences with their parent’s infidelity: Communicative protection and access rules in the absence of divorce, Communication Studies, 60(1), 32-48. doi: 10.1080/10510970802623591Thorson, A. R. (2007, November). Attributions of parents’ infidelity: Adult children’s experiences. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Communication Association, Chicago, IL.Thorson, A. R. (in progress). Communicative pathways to forgiveness: Investigating adult children’s experiences with parental infidelity.Thorson, A. R. (under review). I heard it through the grapevine: Cheating and the influence of discovery method on parent-adult child relational outcomes.Thorson, A. R. (2008, February). Exploring the dimensions of adult children’s attributions for their parent’s infidelity: Creating and validating the attributions for parental infidelity scale using mixed methods. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Western States Communication Association, Denver/Boulder, CO.
  33. 33. Thorson, A. R. (2011). Parental infidelity: Adult children’s accounts and attributions for their parents’ extramarital relationships. In L. M. Webb & F. C. Dickson (Eds.), Communication for Families in Crisis: Theories, Methods, Strategies. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press. [invited chapter, anticipated publication November 2010]Thorson, A. R. (2007, March). Privacy management beyond the dyad: Children’s discovery and consequences experienced upon learning of infidelity in their non-divorced parents’ relationship. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Central States Communication Association, Minneapolis, MN.Thorson, A. R. (in progress). Privacy management beyond the dyad: Consequences experienced by children upon learning of infidelity in their non-divorced parents’ relationship.Thorson, A. R. (2008, November). The influence of discovery method on relational outcomes: A study of parental infidelity. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Communication Association, San Diego, CA. [Top Four Student Paper presented to the Family Communication Division]
  34. 34. Afifi, T. D., Afifi, W. A., Morse, C. R., & Hamrick, K. (2008). Adolescents avoidance tendencies and physiological reactions to discussions about their parents relationship: Implications for postdivorce and nondivorced families. Communication Monographs, 75 (3, September), 290-317.Afifi, T. D., & Schrodt, P. (2003). "Feeling caught" as a mediator of adolescents and young adults avoidance and satisfaction with their parents in divorced and non-divorced households. Communication Monographs, 70 (2, June), 142-173.Amato, P. R. (2010). Research on Divorce: Continuing Trends and New Developments. Journal of Marriage & Family, 72(3), 650-666. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2010.00723.xAmato, P. R., & Cheadle, J. E. (2008). Parental Divorce, Marital Conflict and Childrens Behavior Problems: A Comparison of Adopted and Biological Children. Social Forces, 86(3), 1139-1161.
  35. 35. Amato, P. R., & Cheadle, J. (2005). The long reach of divorce: Divorce and child well-being across three generations. Journal of Marriage & Family, 67(1), 191-206. doi:10.1111/j.0022-2445.2005.00014.xMiller, A. E. (2009). Revealing and concealing postmarital dating information: Divorced coparents privacy rule development and boundary coordination processes. Journal of Family Communication, 9 (3, July/September), 135-149.Previti, D., & Amato, P. R. (2004). Is infidelity a cause or a consequence of poor marital quality? Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 21 (2, April), .Schrodt, P., & Afifi, T. D. (2007). Communication processes that predict young adults feelings of being caught and their associations with mental health and family satisfaction. Communication Monographs, 74 (2, June), 200-228.Schrodt, P., & Ledbetter, A. M. (2007). Communication processes that mediate family communication patterns and mental well-being: A mean and covariance structures analysis of young adults from divorced and nondivorced families. Human Communication Research, 33 (3, July), 330-356.Sobolewski, J. M., & Amato, P. R. (2007). Parents discord and divorce, parent-child relationships and subjective well-being in early adulthood: Is feeling close to two parents always better than feeling close to one?. Social Forces, 85(3), 1105-1124.

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