Resilience and coping in children of divorce

Renea Ashkenazi, Pace University

Abstract

Previous research has found that while many individuals are negatively impacted by parental divorce, there is greater variability in the adjustment of children of divorce than in the adjustment of children from non-divorced families. Since young adulthood is a particularly vulnerable life stage, during which individuals experience a multitude of transitions in identity and lifestyle, young adults may be particularly impacted by parental divorce. The present study aimed to determine whether locus of control, coping style, negative appraisal, and family environment serve as protective or risk factors in young adult children of divorce and reduce the differences in psychological symptoms between individuals from divorced and non-divorced families. A sample of 272 students from Pace University completed a self-report questionnaire packet consisting of the College Chronic Life Stress Survey (CCLSS; Towbes & Cohen, 1996), the Brief Cope (Carver, 1997), the Adult Cognitive Error Questionnaire (Lefebvre, 1981), the Adult Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External control scale (ANSIE; Nowicki & Duke, 1974), the Family Environment Scale (FES; Moos, 1974), the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI; Beck, Brown, Epstein, & Steer, 1988), the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II; Beck, Steer, & Brown, 1996), and a demographic questionnaire. ^ In order to determine whether locus of control, coping style, negative appraisal, and family environment each interact with parental marital status in predicting depression and anxiety, a series of three-predictor regression models were tested. Additional regression models were tested in order to examine predictors of depression and anxiety among young adult children of divorce. Results indicated that among young adult children of divorce, low levels of family cohesion, high levels of dysfunctional coping, and high levels of negative appraisal were each found to uniquely predict greater depression. High levels of dysfunctional coping were found to uniquely predict greater anxiety. In comparing participants from divorced and non-divorced families, participants from divorced families exhibited greater family conflict, less family cohesion, and greater emotion-focused coping than participants from non-divorced families. However, participants from divorced and non-divorced families did not significantly differ in symptoms of depression or anxiety. Furthermore, results demonstrated that locus of control, coping style, negative appraisal, and family environment were stronger predictors of psychological adjustment than parental marital status. The results of this study have important implications regarding treatment interventions for young adult children of divorce as well as for the young adult population in general. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Developmental|Psychology, Clinical|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies

Recommended Citation

Renea Ashkenazi, "Resilience and coping in children of divorce" (January 1, 2008). ETD Collection for Pace University. Paper AAI3319534.
http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/dissertations/AAI3319534

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