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Divorce Support Groups–How Do Group Characteristics Influence Adjustment to Divorce?

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Abstract

Support groups generally meet to give emotional help and information to persons with a common problem. This study investigated what group characteristics were important to participants who were adjusting to divorce. Its aim was to examine the relationship between structural and procedural group variables, to study which group characteristics were significantly related to adjustment, and to investigate if gender was associated with adjustment. Several variables were found to be connected; for example, the nature of group leadership was strongly related to emotional support. Group characteristics associated with adjustment were leadership, guidance from leaders and group members, emotional support and group size. Gender differences were observed, in that males' adjustment was related to group size, and females' to the degree of emotional support.

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... We confirmed the paucity of empirical research on group size and intervention effectiveness by conducting a literature review, which resulted in identification of just seven articles that presented findings related to the association between group size and treatment outcomes. Psychotherapy groups represented in these seven articles included a cognitive behavioral therapy group for chronic pain (Wilson et al., 2018), a group treatment for internet addiction among Korean adolescents (Chun et al., 2017), therapy groups for borderline personality disorder (McLaughlin et al., 2019), a cognitive behavioral therapy group for chronic fatigue (Wiborg et al., 2015), an eating disorder treatment group (Butryn et al., 2014), a divorce support group (Øygard & Hardeng, 2002), and anxiety management training groups that were categorized as either large (i.e., 10-12 members) or very large (i.e., 20 members; Daley et al., 1983). ...
... McLaughlin et al. (2019) found a negative association between group size and intervention effectiveness, such that among a sample of borderline personality disorder therapy groups that ranged in size from five to 10 members, effect sizes decreased significantly as group size increased. In a similar vein, Øygard and Hardeng (2002) found that men participating in divorce support groups experienced greater benefits when they were in a group with between five and seven members than when they were in groups of more than eight members, and Daley et al. (1983) found that members of anxiety management training groups with 10-12 members reported significantly greater improvement than those in groups with 20 members. Other studies (e.g., Butryn et al., 2014;Wiborg et al., 2015) found group size was unassociated with intervention effectiveness or did not evidence a consistent association across programs (e.g., Wilson et al., 2018). ...
... Some researchers, including Kavas (9), showed that in some societies, divorce is associated with various undesirable concepts such as shame, disreputation, and devaluation, which makes the individual internalize negative social attitudes. Social scientists have explored different factors that would buffer the psychological distress following divorce: age, as it is indicated that younger persons reported better adjustment (10), social support groups, in which people benefit from both receiving and providing empathetic understanding (11), receiving emotional support that one needs, including intimacy and attachment, reassurance, having the feeling that one is loved and cared about (12), receiving guidance, including giving information and advice which could help the person to solve her problems (12), finding a new romantic relationship and life partner (10,13), level of education, as it is stated that higher level of education helps the person to have more professional skills and control over his/her life (14), initiator status (15,16), economic resources, which has been found to have a direct relationship with low level of depression (17), and good relationship with children (18,19). The prevalence of divorce and its potentially impairing impacts justify the focuses on the post-divorce adjustment and the factors that may improve the quality of life after divorce. ...
... Some researchers, including Kavas (9), showed that in some societies, divorce is associated with various undesirable concepts such as shame, disreputation, and devaluation, which makes the individual internalize negative social attitudes. Social scientists have explored different factors that would buffer the psychological distress following divorce: age, as it is indicated that younger persons reported better adjustment (10), social support groups, in which people benefit from both receiving and providing empathetic understanding (11), receiving emotional support that one needs, including intimacy and attachment, reassurance, having the feeling that one is loved and cared about (12), receiving guidance, including giving information and advice which could help the person to solve her problems (12), finding a new romantic relationship and life partner (10,13), level of education, as it is stated that higher level of education helps the person to have more professional skills and control over his/her life (14), initiator status (15,16), economic resources, which has been found to have a direct relationship with low level of depression (17), and good relationship with children (18,19). The prevalence of divorce and its potentially impairing impacts justify the focuses on the post-divorce adjustment and the factors that may improve the quality of life after divorce. ...
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... 1 Dr., Justice Academy, Turkey, pskaysegulsayan@hotmail.com, , ORCID: 0000-0002-5580-0617 2 Prof. Dr., Hacettepe University, Turkey, iyil@hacettepe.edu.tr, ORCID: 0000-0001-7874-8404 get through divorce as a life crisis in which they need special support and guidance (Qygard & Hardeng, 2001). ...
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One of the most significant changes in American society in the past two decades has been the dramatic increase in the number of separations and divorces. Between 1962 and 1981, the number of divorces in the United States tripled (National Center for Health Statistics, 1982). From 1970 to 1977, the divorce rate in the United States increased 79 percent (Camara et al., 1980). In the past several years, however, while the number of divorces has continued to increase, the divorce rate has stabilized. Nevertheless, there are currently over one million divorces granted annually in the United States. Since there is an average of one child per divorcing couple, these divorces represent a serious disruption in the lives of more than three million people every year (Bloom et al., in press). Current projections suggest that the near future will be little different from the recent past, and that about one-third of married persons between 25 and 35 years of age in 1975 will divorce (Camara et al., 1980).
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One of the most significant changes in American society in the past two decades has been the dramatic increase in the number of separations and divorces. Between 1962 and 1981, the number of divorces in the United States tripled (National Center for Health Statistics, 1982). From 1970 to 1977, the divorce rate in the United States increased 79 percent (Camara et al., 1980). In the past several years, however, while the number of divorces has continued to increase, the divorce rate has stabilized. Nevertheless, there are currently over one million divorces granted annually in the United States. Since there is an average of one child per divorcing couple, these divorces represent a serious disruption in the lives of more than three million people every year (Bloom et al., in press). Current projections suggest that the near future will be little different from the recent past, and that about one-third of married persons between 25 and 35 years of age in 1975 will divorce (Camara et al., 1980).
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