Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Assessing the Relationship between Adult Attachment and Differentiation of Self to Coparental Divorce Adjustment
by Reser, Gary, Ph.D., Northcentral University, 2012, 157; 3529671
Abstract (Summary)

Coparental divorce negatively impacts a significant portion of families in the United States. Interventions focusing on the psychological components of divorce may produce long lasting and efficacious change in the coparental relationships. Adult attachment theory provides a framework for describing the psychological aspects of adult relationships. The purpose of this study is to investigate if adult attachment and divorce adjustment is correlated. If so, then the use of adult attachment therapies as an intervention to improve divorce emotional adjustment would have a stronger empirical basis. A quantitative research methodology using cross-sectional sampling was used to study the relationship between adult attachment and divorce adjustment. Differentiation of Self was also studied as an exploratory variable. Approximately 1700 recently divorced people were recruited as potential participants. A Survey Monkey on-line questionnaire consisting of questions from the Experiences in Close Relationships - Revised (ECR-R), Psychological Adjustment to Separation Test (PAST), Differentiation of Self – Revised (DSI-R), and demographic questions was administered. A total of 140 respondents submitted useable questionnaires, for a response rate of approximately 8%. Statistically significant correlations between adult attachment and divorce adjustment were identified using ANOVA for between-categories analysis of adult attachment and linear regression for the dimensions of adult attachment. The means were found to be significantly different using ANOVA, F(3, 136) = 45.76, p < .001, whereas the linear regression analysis results were significant, F(2, 137) = 35.50, p < .001. Analysis using canonical correlation was used for the subscales for the ECR-R, PAST, and DSI-R. The analysis found significant correlations between the attachment anxiety and the negativity, loneliness, and conflict subscales of divorce adjustment, Rc= .69, p < .001. A second significant canonical correlation was found between the attachment avoidance and the divorce adjustment conflict subscale, Rc = .30, p < .01. Differentiation of Self was not found to be strongly correlated or to provide significant moderating effect. The findings provide empirical justification for the use of adult attachment interventions for psychotherapy with divorcing parents. Future research could duplicate this study in other regions of the country to establish generalizability to the larger population.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Finamore, Dora
Commitee:
School: Northcentral University
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-B 74/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Mental health, Counseling Psychology
Keywords: Adult attachment, Co-parenting, Divorce
Publication Number: 3529671
ISBN: 9781267664815
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