RESEARCH PAPER
Psychological well-being of individuals after divorce: the role of social support
 
More details
Hide details
1
Institute of Psychology, University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland
Submission date: 2016-07-09
Final revision date: 2016-09-17
Acceptance date: 2016-09-17
Online publication date: 2016-10-18
Publication date: 2016-12-05
 
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2016;4(4):206–216
 
KEYWORDS
TOPICS
ABSTRACT
Background
Divorce is a transition period in which divorcing individuals face restructuring of the family system and adjustment to changes. The psychological well-being of divorcees can serve as an important indicator of the adjustment process. The achievement of well-being does not come easily for many reasons, one of which is the experience related to a sense of loss associated with the marriage break-up. Social support is a major relational resource for overcoming the crisis and successfully adjusting to post-divorce life.

Participants and procedure
The sample consisted of 157 individuals after divorce: 120 women and 37 men (mean age = 41.29). Instruments employed in the study included the Sense of Loss Scale (DS), the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List (ISEL), the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire (OHQ-23), and sociodemographic data.

Results
Our results show that perceived social support is a partial mediator of the relationship between the sense of loss associated with divorce and the psychological well-being of individuals after divorce. For the vast majority of the respondents their parents, friends and acquaintances were the major source of support. About one third of the participants were given support by their siblings and their own children.

Conclusions
The study confirms the mediating role of support in building well-being after experiencing loss related to dissolution of marriage. This means that for divorced women and men perceived social support is one of the key resources that have a significant impact on achieving psychological well-being after divorce, since it is related to mitigating the negative impact of the sense of loss associated with marriage break-up.
 
REFERENCES (51)
1.
Amato, P. R. (1994). Life-span adjustment of children to their parents’ divorce. The Future of Children. Children and Divorce, 4, 143–164. DOI: 10.2307/1602482.
 
2.
Amato, P. R. (2000). The consequences of divorce for adults and children. Journal of Marriage and Family, 62, 1269–1287. DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2000.01269.x.
 
3.
Amato, P. R. (2010). Research on divorce: Continuing trends and new developments. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72, 650–666. DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2010.00723.x.
 
4.
Amato, P. R. (2014). The consequences of divorce for adults and children: An update. Društvena Istraživanja / Journal for General Social Issues, 23, 5–24. DOI: 10.5559/di.23.1.01.
 
5.
Beisert, M. (2000). Rozwód. Proces zmagania się z kryzysem [Divorce. The process of confronting crisis]. Poznań: Wydawnictwo Fundacji Humaniora.
 
6.
Błażek, M. (2014). Rozwód jako sytuacja kryzysowa w rodzinie [Divorce as a crisis situation in a family]. In I. Janicka & H. Liberska (eds.), Psychologia rodziny [The family psychology] (pp. 459–481). Warszawa: PWN.
 
7.
Bohannan, P. (1970). The six stations of divorce. In P. Bohannon (ed.), Divorce and after (pp. 29–55). New York: Doubleday.
 
8.
Bovier, P. A., Chamot, E., & Perneger, T. V. (2004). Perceived stress, internal resources, and social support as determinants of mental health among young adults. Quality of Life Research, 13, 161–170. DOI: 10.1023/B:QURE.0000015288.43768.e4.
 
9.
Clarke-Stewart, A., & Brentano, C. (2006). Divorce: causes and consequences. New Haven-London: Yale University Press.
 
10.
Cohen, S. (1992). Stress, social support, and disorder. In H. O. Veiel & U. Bauman (eds.), The meaning and measurement of social support (pp. 109–124). New York: Hemisphere Press.
 
11.
Cohen, S. (2004). Social relationships and health. American Psychologist, 59, 676–684. DOI: 10.1037/0003-066X.59.8.676.
 
12.
Cohen, S., & Hoberman, H. (1983). Positive events and social supports as buffers of life change stress. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 13, 99–125.
 
13.
Coleman, M., Ganong, L., & Leon, K. (2006). Divorce and postdivorce relationships. In A. L. Vangelisti & D. Perlman (eds.), The Cambridge handbook of personal relationship (pp. 157–173). Cambridge: University Press.
 
14.
Crane, D. R. (2002). Podstawy terapii małżeństw [Fundamentals of marital therapy]. Gdańsk: Gdańskie Wydawnictwo Psychologiczne.
 
15.
Demo, D. H., & Fine, M. A. (2010). Beyond the average divorce. Los Angeles-London-New Delhi-Singapore: Sage.
 
16.
Dwyer, D. (2005). Bliskie relacje interpersonalne [Interpersonal relationships]. Gdańsk: GWP.
 
17.
Dykstra, P. A., & Fokkema, T. (2007). Social and emotional loneliness among divorced and married men and women: Comparing the deficit and cognitive perspectives. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 29, 1–12. DOI: 10.1080/01973530701330843.
 
18.
Gaffal, M. (2010). Psychosocial and legal perspectives of marital breakdown. Berlin Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag.
 
19.
Haber, M. G., Cohen, J. L., & Baltes, B. B. (2007). The relationship between self-reported received and perceived social support: a meta-analytic review. American Journal of Community Psychology, 39, 133–144. DOI: 10.1007/s10464-007-9100-9.
 
20.
Halford, W. K., & Sweeper, S. (2013). Trajectories of adjustment to couple relationship separation. Family Process, 52, 228–243. DOI: 10.1111/famp.12006.
 
21.
Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: a regression-based approach. New York-London: The Guilford Press.
 
22.
Hills, P., & Argyle, M. (2002). The Oxford Happiness Questionnaire: a compact scale for measurement of psychological well-being. Personality and Individual Differences, 33, 1073–1082. DOI: 10.1016/S0191-8869(01)00213-6.
 
23.
Kaniasty, K. (2005). Social support and traumatic stress. PTSD Research Quarterly, 16, 1–3.
 
24.
Kaniasty, K., & Norris, F. H. (1993). A test of the social support deterioration model in the context of natural disaster. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64, 395–408. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.64.3.395.
 
25.
Kaniasty, K., & Norris, F. H. (2005). „Wzlot i upadek utopii”: mobilizacja i deterioracja wsparcia społecznego w sytuacjach klęsk żywiołowych [The rise and fall of utopia: Mobilization and deterioration of social support in the aftermath of natural disasters]. In H. Sęk & R. Cieślak (eds.), Wsparcie społeczne, stres i zdrowie [Social support, stress and health] (pp. 123–138). Warszawa: PWN.
 
26.
Kasprzak, E. (2010). Perceived social support and life-satisfaction. Polish Psychological Bulletin, 41, 144–154. DOI: 10.2478/v10059-010-0019-x.
 
27.
Kawachi, I., & Berkman, L. F. (2001). Social ties and mental health. Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of New York Academy of Medicine, 78, 458–467.
 
28.
Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K., Fisher, L. D., Ogrocki, P., Stout, J. C., Speicher, C. E., & Glaser, R. (1987). Marital quality, marital disruption, and immune function. Psychosomatic Medicine, 49, 13–34.
 
29.
Kitson, G. C., & Morgan, L. A. (1990). The multiple consequences of divorce: A decade review. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 52, 913–924.
 
30.
Kołodziej, A., & Przybyła-Basista, H. (2013). Oksfordzki Kwestionariusz Szczęścia – polska adaptacja narzędzia do badania dobrostanu: wyniki wstępne [Oxford Happiness Questionnaire – Polish adaptation of the instrument for measuring well-being. Preliminary results]. Ist International Conference on Positive Psychology in Poland (poster). Sopot: SWPS Wydział Zamiejscowy (unpublished paper).
 
31.
Norris, F. H., & Kaniasty, K. (1996). Received and perceived social support in times of stress: A test of the social support deterioration deterrence model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 498–511. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.71.3.498.
 
32.
Nurullah, A. S. (2012). Received and provided social support: A review of current evidence and future directions. American Journal of Health Studies, 27, 173–188.
 
33.
Ogińska-Bulik, N. (2013). The role of social support in posttraumatic growth in people struggling with cancer. Health Psychology Report, 1, 1–8. DOI: 10.5114/hpr.2013.40464.
 
34.
Perrig-Chiello, P., Hutchison, S., & Morselli, D. (2015). Patterns of psychological adaptation to divorce after a long-term marriage. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 32, 386–405. DOI: 10.1177/0265407514533769.
 
35.
Power, M. R. (1996). Stages of separation. Australian Journal of Family Law, 10, 143–162.
 
36.
Przybyła-Basista, H. (2006). Mediacje rodzinne w konflikcie rozwodowym. Gotowość i opór małżonków a efektywność procesu mediacji [Family mediation in divorce conflict: Spouses’ readiness and resistance to mediation vs. effectiveness of the mediation process]. Katowice: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego.
 
37.
Punamäki, R., Komproe, I., Qouta, S., El-Masri, M., & de Jong, J. T. (2005). The deterioration and mobilization effects of trauma on social support: Childhood maltreatment and adulthood military violence in a Palestinian community sample. Child Abuse & Neglect, 29, 351–373. DOI: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2004.10.011.
 
38.
Scholz, U., Kliegel, M., Luszczynska, A., & Knoll, N. (2012). Associations between received social support and positive and negative affect: evidence for age differences from a daily-diary study. European Journal of Aging, 9, 361–371. DOI: 10.1007/s10433-012-0236-6.
 
39.
Scourfield, J., & Evans, R. (2014). Why might men be more at risk of suicide after a relationship break down? Sociological insights. American Journal of Men’s Health, 9, 380-384. DOI: 10.1177/155779883145463395.
 
40.
Schwarzer, R., Knoll, N., & Rieckmann, N. (2004). Social support. In A. Kaptein & J. Weinmann (eds.), Health psychology (pp. 158–182). Oxford: Blackwell.
 
41.
Schwarzer, R., & Lepin, A. (1991). Social support and health: A theoretical and empirical overview. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 8, 99–127.
 
42.
Sęk, H., & Cieślak, R. (2005). Wsparcie społeczne – sposoby definiowania, rodzaje i źródła wsparcia, wybrane koncepcje teoretyczne [Social support – ways of defining, the types and sources of support, selected theoretical concepts]. In H. Sęk & R. Cieślak (eds.), Wsparcie społeczne, stres i zdrowie [Social support, stress and health] (pp. 11–29). Warszawa: PWN.
 
43.
Soulsby, L. K., & Bennett, K. M. (2015). Marriage and psychological wellbeing: The role of social support. Psychology, 6, 1349–1359. DOI: 10.4236/psych.2015.611132.
 
44.
Symoens, S., Van de Velde, S., Colman, E., & Bracke, P. (2014). Divorce and the multidimensionality of men and women’s mental health: The role of social-relational and socio-economic conditions. Applied Research in Quality of Life, 9, 197–214. DOI: 10.1007/s11482-013-9239-5.
 
45.
Szlachta, E. (2009). Próba adaptacji i walidacji polskiej wersji The Interpersonal Support Evalu­ation List (ISEL) [The adaptation and preliminary validation of the Polish version of the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List (ISEL)]. Przegląd Psychologiczny, 52, 433–451.
 
46.
Terhell, E. L., van Groenou, M. I. B., & van Tilburg, T. (2004). Network dynamics in the long-term period after divorce. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 21, 719–738. DOI: 10.1177/0265407504047833.
 
47.
Thiriot, T. L., & Buckner, E. T. (1992). Multiple predictors of satisfactory post-divorce adjustment of single custodial parents. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 17, 27–48. DOI: 10.1300/J087v17n01_03.
 
48.
Thuen, F. (2001). Psychiatric symptoms and perceived need for psychiatric care after divorce. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 34, 61–76. DOI: 10.1300/J087v34n01_04.
 
49.
Uchino, B. N. (2006). Social support and health: A review of physiological process potentially underlying links to disease outcomes. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 29, 377–387. DOI: 10.1007/s10865-006-9056-5.
 
50.
Yárnoz-Yaben, S. (2013). Forgiveness, adjustment to divorce and support from the former spouse in Spain. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24, 289–297. DOI: 10.1007/s10826-013-9835-x.
 
51.
Zafar, N., & Kausar, R. (2014). Emotional and social problems in divorced and married women. FWU Journal of Social Sciences, 8, 31–35.
 
eISSN:2353-561X
ISSN:2353-4192