Divorce Research Update– 7-27-2015


New findings about predictors of divorce, marital quality, cohabitation, GLBT divorce and more.  The most recent issue of the Journal of Family Psychology Volume 29, Issue 3, (Jun) includes 5 articles that address important issues in our understanding of divorce.

A more complete list of research report about divorce, remarriage and stepfamilies published in 2015 or between 2010-2015.

Goldberg, A. E., & Garcia, R. (2015). Predictors of relationship dissolution in lesbian, gay, and heterosexual adoptive parents. Journal of Family Psychology,29(3), 394.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/fam0000095

Goldberg, J. S., & Carlson, M. J. (2015). Patterns and Predictors of Coparenting After Unmarried Parents Part. Journal of Family Psychology,29(3), 416-426. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/fam0000078

James, S. L. (2015). Variation in Marital Quality in a National Sample of Divorced Women. Journal of Family Psychology,29(3) http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/fam0000082

Bourassa, K. J., Sbarra, D. A., & Whisman, M. A. (2015). Women in Very Low Quality Marriages Gain Life Satisfaction Following Divorce. Journal of Family Psychology,29(3) http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/fam0000075

Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., Markman, H. J., & Allen, E. S. (2015). Can Marriage Education Mitigate the Risks Associated With Premarital Cohabitation? Journal of Family Psychology, 29(3), 500-506. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/fam0000081

 

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Helping Army Couples Deal with Infidelity


Following infidelity, most couples wonder: is there any way to recover from this injury to the relationship and save the marriage? Elizabeth Allen and her colleagues recently conducted a study with Army personnel to test whether marriage education could improve the relationships of couples who had experienced infidelity. They were asked to participate in a program about marriage education; there was no mention of marital distress or infidelity in the recruitment. Half of the couples were assigned to participate in the Prevention and Relationship Education Program (PREP) and the other half were assigned to a control group. The couples were in the late 20s, were mostly white (about 70 percent) and had a high school education. The couples had been married an average of seven years and about three-quarters had children.

The program was successful in increasing these couples’ marital satisfaction and had a positive effect on their communication skills. Despite these improvements, the PREP program did not decrease the likelihood of divorce for couples with a history of infidelity. Allen and colleagues conclude, “For some couples with a history of infidelity, PREP may strengthen the marriage and reduce the chances of divorce, but for other couples, PREP’s focus on characteristics of healthy and unhealthy marriage may clarify awareness of ongoing marital issues, resulting in the decision to end the marriage.”

The Army has launched an education campaign, called Strong Bonds, to help service members and their spouses strengthen their marriages.

More detail at Huffington Post…..

Doubts about Marriage may signal trouble


“Do you still want to get married?” my mother-in-law asked my future wife on the day we were to be married. Her intuition told her to be alert to premarital doubts, and she wanted to make sure my wife wanted to go through with the marriage. According to a new study by Justin Lavner and colleagues, reported in the Journal of Family Psychology, my mother-in-law was right to ask.

The researchers found that at least one partner in two-thirds of the couples reported having premarital doubts; 47 percent of the husbands and 38 percent of the wives reported being uncertain about getting married. This finding alone suggests that premarital doubts are common among couples and that men are more likely than women to have doubts.

So what do these doubts predict about the likelihood of divorce in the early stages of marriage? About 12 percent of couples in this sample divorced in the first four years. For husbands, premarital doubts did not seem to predict divorce, but for wives, doubts did predict divorce. Among wives who did not report doubts, only 8 percent divorce, while for those wives who did report doubts, almost one out of five ended up divorced. Of course, perhaps doubts about marriage simply reflect a fragile relationship or other factors that predispose divorce. The scientists also examined whether growing up with divorced parents, living together, or having a difficult personality explained the findings rather than “doubts about the marriage.” They found that premarital doubts still predicted divorce above and beyond these factors.

For more details see Huffington Post blog here…

Does Religion help or hurt divorce adjustment?


There has been much study of the factors that contribute to divorce adjustment, but in general most scientists have overlooked the religious aspects of divorce.  This is surprising considering that most Americans report believing in God and many regularly attend religious services.  Kumrei and colleagues recently correct for this oversight and report on a study that explores the spiritual stress and coping experiences of divorcing individuals.

The scientists tested a theoretical model of how religious ideas and spiritual strategies may influence divorce outcomes.  Based on previous theories of stress and coping, the researchers began with the idea that divorcing individuals’ views of divorce may be viewed from a religious perspective.  In particular, divorce may be interpreted as a sacred loss and desecration.  Kurmrei and colleagues suggest that when people view divorce initially in negative terms, this belief is likely to lead to more divorce adjustment problems.  Additionally, the scientists suggest there are both positive and negative forms of religious coping with divorce.  The positive forms such as relying on prayer, private religious rituals or worship to overcome feelings of anger, hurt and fear will lead to better adjustment.  On the other hand, negative forms of religious coping such as viewing divorce as a punishment from God, experiencing tension with one’s religious community or spiritual guilt would contribute to more difficulties in adjusting to divorce.

As might be expected those individuals who viewed divorce as a sacred loss were more depressed and were more likely to use poor conflict resolution strategies.  The more negative religious coping a person used the more likely they were to be depressed one year following divorce and the more positive religious coping they used predicted more growth a year later.  These findings remained important even when other forms of non-religious positive coping such as problem-solving, use of humor, planning, and acceptance were taken into account.

For more see Huffington Post summary…..