Can you reach teens about coping with divorce via social media?


Jeremy Kanter has begun to experiment with the use of social media, BuzzFeed, to reach teens about dealing with divorce.  This work combines humor, video and science  and other useful resources.  This is his BuzzFeed post:  10 Ways to Decrease Your Stress about your Parent’s Divorce.   

 

Reducing Stepmothers’ Stress


Stepparents will tell you that this is a hard and stressful role.  Stepmothers in particular have many challenges.  Although there is much research that supports this finding, there is still relatively little understanding of the mechanisms and factors that contribute to this stress.  And there is even less information about what we can do about it.

Recent work by Danielle Shapiro at the University of Michigan provides some new insights about the parenting stress experienced by stepmothers.  She notes that in general couples with higher quality marriages report less parenting stress and writes, “…this was particularly pronounced for stepparents. In addition, stepparents with traditional gender views reported higher levels of parenting stress…  for stepparents, both nontraditional gender views and high marital quality jointly predicted the greatest protection from parenting stress. In fact, stepparents with both high marital adjustment and nontraditional gender views were indistinguishable in terms of parenting stress from biological parents, while stepparents who were low on one or both of these dimensions experienced substantially more parenting stress.”

Shapiro suggests that programs and treatment programs for stepparents should include attention to gender roles and marital quality as ways to address parental stress.

Shapiro, D. (2014). Stepparents and parenting stress: The roles of gender, marital quality, and views about gender roles. Family Process, 53(1), 97-108. doi:10.1111/famp.12062

More 2014 studies on stepparenting and stepfamilies…..

Doodson, L. J., & Davies, A. P. C. (2014). Different challenges, different well-being: A comparison of psychological well-being across stepmothers and biological mothers and across four categories of stepmothers. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 55(1), 49-63. doi:10.1080/10502556.2013.862094

Ganong, L., & Coleman, M. (2014). Responsibility inferences and intergenerational obligations to parents and stepparents: Are Step/Children less obligated when older adults are at fault for their problems? Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 55(1), 64-81. doi:10.1080/10502556.2013.862098

Nuru, A. K., & Wang, T. R. (2014). “She was stomping on everything that we used to think of as a family”: Communication and turning points in cohabiting (step)families. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 55(2), 145-163. doi:10.1080/10502556.2013.871957

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…..