Divorce is a traumatic, life-altering event. Parental divorce during adolescence is problematical because key aspects of epistemological development form during late adolescence. This study examined whether adolescents are epistemologically changed by the occurrence of parental divorce during late adolescence, such that adult conflict behavior and learning is permanently affected. The effects of parental divorce on adolescent self concept formation were examined in light of attachment theory, identity theory, and emancipation theory. Research Question #1 asked: In the wake of parental divorce during adolescence, are conflict behaviors and attitudes more greatly affected during late adolescence or during adulthood? Research Question #2 asked: Is there a measurable link between the occurrence of parental divorce during late adolescence, and epistemological changes that significantly affect conflict behaviors and learnings throughout adulthood? In a quantitative, quasi-experimental, non-equivalent groups design schema employing 36 subjects, the Conflict Dynamics Profile (‘CDP’) questionnaire was administered to two sample groups that both experienced parental divorce during adolescence, differing only by age (adolescent and adult); and also to a comparison group of adults who did not experience parental divorce. Stratified random sampling was employed to ensure that adolescent subjects verifiably experienced parental divorce during adolescence. Self-reporting was employed for adult subjects. After the initial CDP assessment, conflict management training was administered to all subjects. Thirty days later, all subjects completed a second CDP assessment. CDP scores were then loaded into SPSS statistical software for inferential statistical testing of each hypothesis. Regarding Research Question #1, a statistically reliable difference was revealed between conflict behaviors and attitudes manifested by post-divorce adolescents and adults, as measured by the CDP. Regarding Research Question #2, for adults who experienced parental divorce during adolescence, and received formal conflict management training during adulthood, a statistically reliable difference was revealed between the means of their pre-training and post-training assessment scores as measured by the CDP. A new theory was proffered entitled Adolescent Epistemological Trauma Theory, which posited that traumatic life events such as parental divorce during the formative period of late adolescence portend life-long effects on adult conflict behavior which can be mitigated by effective behavioral assessment and training.
Keywords: divorce, trauma, adolescence, epistemological development, adult conflict behavior, conflict training
|Advisor:||Bastidas, Elena P.|
|School:||Nova Southeastern University|
|School Location:||United States -- Florida|
|Source:||DAI-A 73/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Pastoral Counseling, Counseling Psychology, Individual & family studies|
|Keywords:||Asolescents, Conflict behavior, Conflict training, Divorce, Trauma|
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