Cover image for Separating together : how divorce transforms families
Separating together : how divorce transforms families
Stewart, Abigail J.
Publication Information:
New York : Guilford Press, [1997]

Physical Description:
viii, 293 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Added Author:
Format :


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HQ834 .S46 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Is divorce a catastrophe for children? Do single parents have trouble establishing authority in their homes? Do boys have a harder time adjusting than girls? Based on a unique longitudinal study of 100 divorcing families with school-age children, this book argues that popular images of divorce including those shared by many psychologists are too individualistic, too negative, and too universalizing about an experience that can be very different for men and women, parents and children, and different kinds of families. The book integrates qualitative and quantitative data to illuminate both the positive and negative effects of divorce on family members and family relationships, offering a nuanced, empirically grounded examination of divorce as a family system event.

Author Notes

Abigail J. Stewart, PhD, is Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at the University of Michigan, where she is also Director of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender. Widely published, her research has focused on the psychology of women's lives; personality; and adaptation to change.

Anne P. Copeland, PhD, is Associate Professor of Psychology at Boston University. She is currently studying how family process and national culture affect adolescents' identity and adjustment.

Nia Lane Chester, PhD, is Professor of Psychology and Dean for Learning and Assessment at Pine Manor College in Brookline, MA. A former Radcliffe Research Scholar and recipient of a DuPont grant from the Women's College Coalition, her interests include role and personality interaction, stress and coping patterns in adults and children, and women and work.

Janet E. Malley, PhD, is Senior Research Associate at the Murray Research Center of Radcliffe College. Her research interests are in the area of adult development, focusing in particular on how the process of development may be mediated by work and family roles.

Nicole B. Barenbaum, PhD, is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. Her research focuses on the history of personality psychology in the U.S.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Using a systems perspective, Stewart et al. describe how divorce influences adult family members and children. Case studies illustrate the challenges and problems divorcing parents and their children face. This longitudinal study examines the positive and negative consequences of separation and divorce. Factors that contribute to the process of adjustment to parental separation are analyzed by focusing on parents and children as individuals. The authors explore the dyadic mother-child relationship with reference to the quality of this dyad, and they evaluate the impact of parental conflict on children's gender roles and well-being. Looking at the functioning of the family unit over time, the study assesses the relationships between custodial and noncustodial households and the overall integration of the family. The empirical findings demonstrate how these results are both consistent and inconsistent with folk wisdom about divorce and how divorcing families undergo transformation. Findings also emphasize the importance of viewing divorce as an event that affects a system of relationships rather than individuals. A valuable addition to the growing literature on divorcing families. Graduate; faculty. D. A. Chekki; University of Winnipeg

Table of Contents

I The Psychological Experience of Parental Divorce
1 Changing Our Minds about Parental Divorce
2 Studying Family Transformation: Research Designs and the Family Changes Project
3 The Parent's Stories: The End of a Marriage and a New Beginning
4 The Children's Stories
II How Individual Family Members Adapt to Parental Separation
5 Parents Adjusting after the Separation: What Helped?
6 Beyond the "Effects of Divorce on Children": Uncovering and Understanding Complexity
III Family Dyads, Adjustment, and Change
7 The Mother-Child Relationship: Insider and Outsider Views
8 When the Conflict Continues: Implications of Parental Conflict in the Postseparation Family
9 Patterns of Conflict and Parenting in Divorcing Couples
IV Parental Divorce as a Family Transformation
10 Families after Separation: Changing Systems
11 Wise Families, Wise Changes