Special Issue "Divorce and Life Course"

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760). This special issue belongs to the section "Family Studies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 November 2021) | Viewed by 19383

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Teresa M. Cooney
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Sociology, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO 80204, USA
Interests: aging families; aging and society

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Fifty years after the U.S. and other developed countries experienced a “divorce revolution”, divorce rates have dropped sharply and the profile of divorcing couples has shifted dramatically. These changes in divorce raise questions regarding the social, demographic, economic, psychological and historical factors reshaping divorce around the globe, as well as the meaning and consequences of divorce for individuals, families and societies in the 21st century. Furthermore, how contemporary divorce relates to the broader context of relationships and patterns of intimate partnering today, including same-sex unions (and divorces), non-marital unions (and break-ups), living-apart-together relationships, and delayed and declining entry into marriage is critical to consider.

The aim of this special issue is to provide a 21st century update on research surrounding divorce. The editor invites submissions from the range of social science disciplines, employing either a macro or micro focus, and a variety of qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods approaches. Theoretical/conceptual pieces are also welcome. Submissions that employ historical or cross-cultural comparisons in divorce patterns, predictors and outcomes are especially desired to expand discussion of historical and cultural influences on divorce today. Of particular interest are papers that use longitudinal data to assess cohort and period patterns and differences in divorce trends, predictors and correlates of divorce, and outcomes for children and adults, such as those pertaining to family relationships, physical and mental health, economic well-being and status attainment. Research from developing nations is especially valuable given limited divorce research to date in developing countries.

Those interested in having a piece of work considered for inclusion in this special issue should send a 300-500 word abstract to Teresa M. Cooney, Special Issue Editor, at [email protected] by April 1. Submissions will be reviewed by May 1, at which point invitations will be extended for full papers. The final deadline for submission of completed papers for peer review will be November 1, 2021.

Prof. Dr. Teresa M. Cooney

Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • divorce
  • same-sex or heterosexual union dissolution
  • demographic differentials in divorce
  • historical patterns in divorce
  • divorce outcomes for adults and children
  • longitudinal analyses
  • cross-cultural analyses

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Introduction to Special Issue on “Divorce and the Life Course”
Soc. Sci. 2022, 11(5), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11050202 - 05 May 2022
Viewed by 961
Abstract
With the severe upswing in divorce experienced by developed nations in the last fifty years, social scientists in many disciplines are intensifying their focus on marital dissolution and its implications for society, families, and individuals [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Divorce and Life Course)

Research

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Article
Life Course and Emerging Adulthood: Protestant Women’s Views on Intimate Partner Violence and Divorce
Soc. Sci. 2022, 11(4), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11040169 - 07 Apr 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1077
Abstract
There are inconsistent findings on the relationship between intimate partner violence (IPV) and religiosity or Biblical inerrancy. The Biblical text accepts divorce in cases of infidelity and desertion—but does not specify abuse or IPV as legitimate reasons. In this study, I interviewed twenty [...] Read more.
There are inconsistent findings on the relationship between intimate partner violence (IPV) and religiosity or Biblical inerrancy. The Biblical text accepts divorce in cases of infidelity and desertion—but does not specify abuse or IPV as legitimate reasons. In this study, I interviewed twenty White Protestant women (ages 18–22) at a large southern university. In emerging adulthood, a critical period for young adults (ages 18–29), I examined their current levels of religious participation, beliefs in Biblical inerrancy, and their perceptions of IPV as a legitimate reason for divorce. During this process of identity formation as emerging adults, they may reevaluate their religious socialization and parents’ values as well as engage in various social relationships, including romantic ones. Emerging adult women are also at the highest risk for IPV. The findings suggest Protestant women in emerging adulthood reevaluated their religious socialization to formulate a more adaptive worldview. Their religious participation and belief in Biblical inerrancy declined during emerging adulthood and they all accepted divorce as acceptable in cases of IPV. It is an important finding because they are in a key period of potential IPV exposure in their life course. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Divorce and Life Course)
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Article
Poverty Risks after Relationship Dissolution and the Role of Children: A Contemporary Longitudinal Analysis of Seven OECD Countries
Soc. Sci. 2022, 11(3), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11030138 - 18 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1221
Abstract
The divorce literature has consistently found that—especially women—are negatively affected by relationship dissolution in terms of material wellbeing. There is, however, considerable debate on whether these effects are persistent or temporary. We use fixed effects models and control for the socioeconomic status of [...] Read more.
The divorce literature has consistently found that—especially women—are negatively affected by relationship dissolution in terms of material wellbeing. There is, however, considerable debate on whether these effects are persistent or temporary. We use fixed effects models and control for the socioeconomic status of individuals who separated between 2011 and 2018 in seven countries for which large scale longitudinal data has recently been harmonized in the Comparative Panel File. We find that the transitory nature of the effect of relationship dissolution on poverty risks for women is similar across countries, but also for some men. We further focus on the role of children in the immediate changes in poverty risks after separation, and again find significant differences between countries. We discuss these findings in light of social policies adopted by these countries, more specifically child and spousal support schemes. We find no distinguishable differences in these support schemes that adequately explain the observed dissimilarities. The implications of this study for the future study of the association between relationship dissolution and poverty are discussed and future pathways are suggested. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Divorce and Life Course)
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Article
Post-Separation Physical Custody Arrangements in Germany: Examining Sociodemographic Correlates, Parental Coparenting, and Child Adjustment
Soc. Sci. 2022, 11(3), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11030114 - 09 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1053
Abstract
Most children continue to live with their mother after a divorce or separation, yet paternal involvement in post-separation families has increased substantially in many Western nations. This shift has contributed to a growing share and more diverse set of post-separation parents opting for [...] Read more.
Most children continue to live with their mother after a divorce or separation, yet paternal involvement in post-separation families has increased substantially in many Western nations. This shift has contributed to a growing share and more diverse set of post-separation parents opting for shared physical custody (SPC), which typically means that children alternate between the parental residences for substantive amounts of time. Profiling the case of Germany, where no legal regulations facilitating SPC are implemented to date, we examine the prevalence of SPC families, sociodemographic correlates of SPC, and its associations with parental coparenting and child adjustment. Using representative survey data sampled in 2019 (N = 800 minors of 509 separated parents), results revealed that only 6–8% of children practiced SPC. SPC parents were more likely to hold tertiary levels of schooling and to report a better coparenting relationship with the other parent. There was no link between SPC and child adjustment, yet conflictual coparenting was linked to higher levels of hyperactivity among SPC children. We conclude that the social selection into SPC and linkages between conflictual coparenting and hyperactivity among SPC children likely stem from the higher costs and the constant level of communication between the ex-partners that SPC requires. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Divorce and Life Course)
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Article
Family Structure and Maternal Depressive Symptoms: A Cross-National Comparison of Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States
Soc. Sci. 2022, 11(2), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11020078 - 15 Feb 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 869
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to understand the relationship between family structure and maternal depressive symptoms (MDS) in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Family structures that involve transitions across life’s course, such as divorce, can alter access to resources [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study is to understand the relationship between family structure and maternal depressive symptoms (MDS) in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Family structures that involve transitions across life’s course, such as divorce, can alter access to resources and introduce new stressors into family systems. Using the stress process model, we examine the links between family structure, stress, resources, and MDS. Using nationally representative data from Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States and cross-sectional models for each country, we find that family structure may influence MDS differently in the UK than it does in Australia or, especially, the US. Specifically, mothers in the UK who either enter or leave a marriage after the birth of their child experience increased levels of MDS compared with mothers who do not experience a similar transition. These findings demonstrate that the effects of family structure transitions across life’s course may vary according to the country context as well as to the mother’s access to resources and exposure to stress. Considering that the effects of family structure transitions are not universal, this indicates that greater attention should be paid to the country contexts families exist in and the effects that public policies and social safety nets can have on MDS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Divorce and Life Course)
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Article
Lingering Male Breadwinner Norms as Predictors of Family Satisfaction and Marital Instability
Soc. Sci. 2022, 11(2), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11020049 - 28 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1031
Abstract
Scholars have assumed that as gender revolutions are completed and societies achieve advanced levels of gender egalitarianism, married persons become happier, and marriages become stable. This study investigates how the norms about gender roles are associated with marital instability. The analysis is based [...] Read more.
Scholars have assumed that as gender revolutions are completed and societies achieve advanced levels of gender egalitarianism, married persons become happier, and marriages become stable. This study investigates how the norms about gender roles are associated with marital instability. The analysis is based on two propositions: (1) marital dissolution is an outcome of two rather distinct processes, deterioration of marital quality and formation of a decision to leave a marriage, and (2) the antithesis of advanced gender egalitarianism is a set of lingering male breadwinner norms, not gender inequality often manifested by working women performing second shifts. The data are from 68 national surveys conducted in 2002 and 2012 through ISSP coordination, and the sample of person-level analysis is restricted to ages 30–49, supposedly in the life cycle stages of family formation and expansion. The norms of gender roles are classified into four types: traditional norm, prescribing gendered division of labor; lingering male breadwinner norm, emphasizing men as the primary breadwinners while allowing flexibility of women’s roles; super woman norm, prescribing women to perform double roles; and egalitarian norm, emphasizing equal sharing of roles. At the country level, aggregate variables were constructed by calculating the percentage of adults who held each type of norm. The results strongly support the prediction that the male breadwinner norm at the societal level is detrimental to marital quality, while persons holding the egalitarian norm are most satisfied with their family lives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Divorce and Life Course)
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Article
Linked Lives: Does Disability and Marital Quality Influence Risk of Marital Dissolution among Older Couples?
Soc. Sci. 2022, 11(1), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11010027 - 15 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1014
Abstract
Using fourteen waves of data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a longitudinal panel survey with respondents in the United States, this research explores whether marital quality—as measured by reports of enjoyment of time together—influences risk of divorce or separation when either [...] Read more.
Using fourteen waves of data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a longitudinal panel survey with respondents in the United States, this research explores whether marital quality—as measured by reports of enjoyment of time together—influences risk of divorce or separation when either spouse acquires basic care disability. Discrete-time event history models with multiple competing events were estimated using multinomial logistic regression. Respondents were followed until they experienced the focal event (i.e., divorce or separation) or right-hand censoring (i.e., a competing event or were still married at the end of observation). Disability among wives was predictive of divorce/separation in the main effects model. Low levels of marital quality (i.e., enjoy time together) were associated with marital dissolution. An interaction between marital quality and disability yielded a significant association among couples where at least one spouse acquired basic care disability. For couples who acquired disability, those who reported low enjoyment were more likely to divorce/separate than those with high enjoyment; however, the group with the highest predicted probability were couples with low enjoyment, but no acquired disability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Divorce and Life Course)
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Article
Who’s Afraid of Divorce? Sexual Minority Young Adults’ Perspectives on Divorce
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(12), 483; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10120483 - 16 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1513
Abstract
Research suggests that young adults commonly approve of divorce but still feel anxious about the possibility of divorcing themselves due to anticipated emotional and financial repercussions. However, the existing research focuses exclusively on heterosexual young adults, which is a significant oversight given the [...] Read more.
Research suggests that young adults commonly approve of divorce but still feel anxious about the possibility of divorcing themselves due to anticipated emotional and financial repercussions. However, the existing research focuses exclusively on heterosexual young adults, which is a significant oversight given the recent legalization of same-sex marriage. As such, we rely primarily on qualitative data from an online survey of unmarried sexual minority young adults (n = 257) to examine how they think about divorce. Our results suggest that sexual minority young adults have somewhat distinct perspectives compared to heterosexual young adults. In particular, they anticipate being quite willing to divorce under a broad set of circumstances, and they report minimal anxieties regarding the prospect of divorce. Given documented associations between attitudes toward divorce in young adulthood and subsequent relational behavior (e.g., cohabitation, marital delay), we conclude by discussing what our results suggest about sexual minority young adults’ relationships in the era of marriage equality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Divorce and Life Course)
Article
Performing the Bad Marriage? The Transition from a Troubled to a Troubling Family in the Course of Fault Divorce in the 21st Century
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(12), 464; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10120464 - 05 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1148
Abstract
Austrian family law stands out in Europe because, in Austria, fault-based divorce is still legally valid. In these divorces, the suing partner attempts to prove in court that the other partner is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. Thus, proving in [...] Read more.
Austrian family law stands out in Europe because, in Austria, fault-based divorce is still legally valid. In these divorces, the suing partner attempts to prove in court that the other partner is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. Thus, proving in court that a relationship is deficient in order to obtain a divorce is a common family transition practice in Austria. In this contribution, I seek to identify the practices that are associated with fault divorce proceedings and look at how these practices are related to normative and legal ideas of marriage. Based on a qualitative multiple case study, I analysed 17 fault divorce lawsuits filed by heterosexual couples in the 2014–2016 period. To do so, I used situational analysis, trans-sequential analysis, and an analytical framework that was developed within the research project. The spouses’ involvement in the proceedings relied on two main approaches: First, the divorce was justified by an event that was disruptive enough to ‘keep things short’. These narratives were related to the divorce grounds explicitly mentioned in family law. Second, the divorce was justified through narratives of a ‘normal’ marriage that became a ‘bad’ marriage over time. These narratives relied upon characterisations of the other spouse as deficient. These deficiencies were related to normative expectations associated with particular life stages and gendered life course trajectories and mirrored the nuclear family ideal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Divorce and Life Course)
Article
More of the Same? Comparing the Personalities of Ex-Spouse and New Partner after Divorce
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(11), 431; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10110431 - 09 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 5234
Abstract
The similarity of the Big Five personality traits of ex-spouses and new partners was examined post-divorce. The notion that divorcees replicate their partner choice (fixed-type hypothesis) was tested against the hypotheses that they learn to select a new partner with more marriage-stabilizing personality [...] Read more.
The similarity of the Big Five personality traits of ex-spouses and new partners was examined post-divorce. The notion that divorcees replicate their partner choice (fixed-type hypothesis) was tested against the hypotheses that they learn to select a new partner with more marriage-stabilizing personality traits than their former spouse (learning hypothesis), or are constrained by marriage market forces to repartner with someone who has less stabilizing personality traits (marriage market hypothesis). Data was derived from a Flemish study that sampled divorcees from the national register. The sample consisted of 700 triads of divorcees, their ex-spouses, and their new partners. The analysis results rejected the fixed-type hypothesis and instead supported both the learning hypothesis and the marriage market hypothesis, with higher order repartnering supporting the latter. Women also seemed to validate both hypotheses, as their partner comparison showed decreases in both stabilizing traits (conscientiousness and agreeableness) and destabilizing traits (neuroticism and extraversion). Overall, the results seem to suggest that divorcees do not repartner with someone of the same personality as their ex-spouse, and they are in some cases constrained by marriage market forces to repartner with less stabilizing personalities, while in other cases they are able to improve their partner selection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Divorce and Life Course)
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Article
Mother-Child and Father-Child Relationships in Emerging Adults from Divorced and Non-Divorced Families
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(10), 382; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10100382 - 13 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1614
Abstract
The main aim of this study was to analyze the associations between parental divorce and interparental conflict with the quality of parent-child relationships. Specifically, we analyzed trust, communication and alienation in both father-child and mother-child relationships in a sample of 1078 Spanish emerging [...] Read more.
The main aim of this study was to analyze the associations between parental divorce and interparental conflict with the quality of parent-child relationships. Specifically, we analyzed trust, communication and alienation in both father-child and mother-child relationships in a sample of 1078 Spanish emerging adults from divorced and non-divorced families. The interaction between parental divorce and conflict was also analyzed. In support of our expectations, parental divorce was associated with lower trust and communication, along with higher alienation in father-child and mother-child relationships. When interparental conflict was included, parental conflict was more strongly associated with lower trust and communication in mother-child relationships, and higher alienation in both mother-child and father-child relationships. However, parental divorce was still associated with low trust and communication with fathers, when interparental conflict and the interaction between parental divorce and conflict were added. In summation, our results suggest that both parental divorce and conflict should be taken into account in the study of the consequences of family-related stress variables on adult children’s wellbeing. These findings add to the current literature and contribute to better comprehend the effects of parental divorce and conflict on both mother-child and father-child affective relationships in an understudied cultural context. The implications, limitations and future research recommendations are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Divorce and Life Course)
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