Date of Award:

1986

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Gerald R. Adams

Co-Advisor/Chair:

William Dobson

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to determine if a structured intervention program could assist individuals in adjusting to some of the disruption associated with divorce. A secondary purpose was to determine if identity status would mediate the effects of the intervention program upon divorce adjustment. The components of the intervention program were modeled on previous research. It was hypothesized that individuals participating in a structured treatment program would manifest greater gains in areas of divorce adjustment than the control group. However, results show that while there was greater gain for the experimental group than the control group in several areas, such gain was not a level of significance sufficient to support the primary hypothesis. In addition, support was not generated for the mediational role of identity. Indeed, identity appeared as a rather stable construct, showing very little change from treatment effects and not seeming to influence treatment outcome. It was found that those individuals high in identity status reported less adjustment problems from the divorce than those individuals with low identity statuses. However, this was not a factor of treatment with the control group reporting the same finding. Implications for future research suggest studies in divorce adjustment focus on symptomology and problems in day-to-day living, with objective measuring devices rather than the subjective self-report instruments currently in use. Research on identity status as it relates to divorce adjustment should be longitudinal in nature tracking identity prior to divorce, and allowing for longer intervention periods.

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