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Abstract

When couples divorce, their friendships with other couples and individuals often shift. Using data from a mixed-methods study of 58 divorced individuals and 123 couples, this article explores how friendships change following divorce or a couple's breakup from two different perspectives. Divorced people report that they more often retain, and in some cases strengthen, their individual friendships and that their friendships with both members of couples are rarely maintained. Most couples had other couples with whom they were friends divorce or break up and described losing a friendship with one of the members. Implications for practitioners are included.
... In addition, women have strong mid-life friendships before and after a gray divorce and therefore may not need spouses as supportive individuals in their lives going forward (McLaughlin et al. 2010). Men, on the other hand, tend to reap the rewards of earlier marriages in that their wives maintain social networks with family and friends; they therefore may rationally need to or want to reproduce as many of these benefits as possible in a new remarriage (Crowley 2018;Greif and Deal 2012;McLaughlin et al. 2010;Milardo 1987). ...
... Margaret, 56 years old, regretted that she did most of all three types of work in her previous marriage. She, like many other mid-life women, also benefitted from strong social supports in the form of friends and family that mitigated the need to remarry (Greif and Deal 2012 Margaret declared that she was not completely opposed to remarriage, but that her last marriage had severely affected her. Her husband was an alcoholic who was unable to contribute financially to the family, thus prompting her to file for divorce; going forward in any new marriage, that dynamic would have to change. ...
... In contrast, men overwhelmingly remained open and optimistic about the possibility of remarrying to be with a new love and companion; this was by far their most commonly reported theme in this analysis. Part of this motivation might be due to the fact that mid-life men lack the strong social networks of support that are common among older women, and that many men lose adult family members and adult friendships to their wives after a gray divorce, often because their wives are no longer doing their social planning (Crowley 2018;Cooney and Dunne 2001;Greif and Deal 2012;McLaughlin et al. 2010). Men also suffer from reduced contact with their mostly adult children after a gray divorce, as their sons and daughters tend to side with their mothers (Crowley 2018;Kalmijn 2015). ...
Article
Gray divorces, or divorces at and over the age of 50, are increasing in the United States. This article explores this population's interest in remarrying after a divorce by sex within the context of a prospective, role exit theoretical framework. In‐depth, qualitative interviews with 40 women and 39 men who have experienced a gray divorce were analyzed using grounded theory methodology. There were significant gender differences with respect to receptivity to remarriage among those who had undergone a gray divorce. More specifically, the most common theme expressed by women involved firmly rejecting remarriage as a part of their futures. The remaining themes articulated by women were conditional pro‐remarriage views and then even less commonly, unconditional pro‐remarriage views. In contrast, the most common theme among men was that they remained very open to remarriage, either unconditionally or under specified conditions; only a small number rejected the prospect entirely. These findings highlight the differences in the remarriage decision from both the female and male perspectives for this population.
... We may state that separation is not only a "family matter," but also a matter that involves many social and family relationships. In fact, the scientific literature is unanimous in detecting the negative impact that separation and divorce have on social relationships, including the family of origin, friendships, and support networks (Amato, 2000;Amato and James, 2010;Bailey and Zvonkovic, 2003;Frisby, Booth-Butterfield, Dillow, Martin, and Weber, 2012;Greif and Holtz Deal, 2012;Kalmijn, 2009;Krumrey, Coit, Martin, Fogo, and Mahoney, 2007;Prezza and Pacilli, 2002). Indeed, separation is a possible cause of loss of some bonds within one's own social network (Krumrey et al., 2007) and it can lead to social isolation (Amato, 2000). ...
... With regard to the friendship networks, we can see that they constitute an important resource, and women are able to develop more friendships in the post divorce than men (Greif and Holtz Deal, 2012). In general, authors highlight that the support provided by friends, neighborhood, and one's own community is an important source of resilience (Greeff and Van Der Merwe, 2004). ...
... In particular, support from the association, face to face and mediated contacts are significantly linked with lower levels of parents' depression and higher levels of parents' self-esteem and satisfaction with life. That means that parents are better when they feel less alone and are more able to receive support; when parents are better their children are better as well, confirming the protective role of social networks (Bailey and Zvonkovic, 2003;Greeff and Van Der Merwe, 2004;Greif and Holtz Deal 2012). ...
Chapter
A research framework is described in this chapter to focus on explaining the helpseeking behaviors of male victims in heterosexual intimate partner violence (IPV). Men who do not seek help tend not to have a strong social support network; however, they do possess a strong value system regarding their masculinity, believing that men should always demonstrate physical strength and self-determination power. Based on current literature about these perceived values, this framework supports the use of masculine gender socialization to analyze male gender role conflict and help-seeking reluctance. Proposed research directions aim to address public and professional education, plan strategies for practice and service, and develop research and policy in closing the gender gap in service planning.
... In particular, the perception of being supported by relational networks is a protective factor against psychological problems such as depression and low self-esteem (Bailey & Zvonkovic, 2003). Moreover, it allows for the development of the resources and competences connected to one's own parental tasks (Krumrei et al., 2007) and is a source of resilience (Greeff & van der Merwe, 2004;Greif & Deal, 2012). ...
... It can be also possible that participating in the activities of the association and feeling to be supported can help people not to remain in isolation, a risk connected with separation (Sprecher et al., 2006), thus facilitating to cultivate already established friendships. The support given by the associations may be especially helpful for fathers as they tend to become more isolated than mothers after separation (Greif & Deal, 2012): Associations can help them in rebuilding their social network and redefine themselves as parents (Stone, 2001). ...
Article
After separation or divorce, people generally experience a deterioration of health, not only in terms of physical well‐being but also in terms of emotional and social well‐being. In addition, when separated, individuals are parents as well and they are concerned with the well‐being of their children. The main task for separated parents is to maintain a parental alliance (coparenting) for the sake of their children's well‐being. Social support is a critical resource, which helps parents face their new life condition, promoting their psychological well‐being. In recent years in Italy, many associations targeting separated and divorced parents have been founded: They support ex‐partners during and after separation and are active in defending their rights. These associations are voluntary associations/non‐profit organisations and self‐help groups, which are constituted by parents themselves who associate to support each other in the tasks connected with separation. The present study investigated, with an explorative aim, the role of these associations for separated parents’ well‐being and coparenting abilities. In particular, drawing on a sample of 318 Italian separated parents (73.30% fathers; 26.70% mothers) belonging to a formal association targeting separated parents, the study analysed whether and how the perception of being supported by the association was related to psychological and relational well‐being and to coparenting. Results showed that the more parents perceived to be supported by the association the less they were depressed, the more they were satisfied with the relationship with children and friends, and the more they displayed coparenting abilities. Our findings suggest that social support from these associations is a resource for separated parents’ health.
... The community can be a major source of support for children and parents involved in HIPD (Afifi et al. 2013), and decreased community support can have a negative impact (Blank and Ney 2006;Greif and Deal 2012;Kalmijn and Dronkers 2015;McNamee and Smyth 2019;Wilder 2016; Aeby and van Hooff 2019). Although little research on HIPD has thus far been conducted in closed communities, several studies of this kind have indicated that in closed communities, community leaders play an active role aimed at impacting the dispute and the separation/divorce in accordance with the community's values and norms (Afifi et al. 2013). ...
Article
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Exposure to high intensity parental dispute (HIPD) can have harsh consequences for children both in childhood and adulthood. Most of the research on children and HIPD has been conducted in Western societies. Guided by context-informed perspective, the present study was designed to learn about the lives of children in HIPD situations within the Jewish Ultra-Orthodox community in Israel, in which one of the parents has disaffiliated with the community, as perceived by frontline practitioners who intervene with the children and their families in this context. Nine semi-structured interviews with social workers with extensive experience in such cases and 25 written reports authored by social workers were analyzed. The thematic analysis highlighted the impact of the clash between the Ultra-Orthodox world and the secular world on the lives of the children. The findings also underlined the challenges facing social workers in assessing these children’s most urgent needs given the various risks they face, including spiritual risk. The discussion points to an urgent need for further theoretical advancements regarding HIPD and children in other non-Western contexts and the crucial role of context-informed research in understanding this multifaceted phenomenon, which should greatly impact both decision making and intervention. The study’s conclusions indicate the importance of incorporating the findings into policy and practice in order to more effectively adapt interventions for children to situations of HIPD in closed societies.
... In response to HIPDs, the community can be a major source of support or it may exacerbate the conflict (e.g. Aeby & van Hooff, 2018;Afifi et al., 2013;Greif & Deal, 2012;Kalmijn & Dronkers, 2015;McNamee & Smyth, 2019;Wilder, 2016). Hitherto, however, only few studies have examined HIPD in closed communities. ...
Article
The present study discusses the role of the Jewish ultra-Orthodox community in high intensity parental disputes (HIPD) in cases of divorce following one parent’s disaffiliation from the community. In the ultra-Orthodox community, a parent who disaffiliates might encounter harsh sanctions, including excommunication, often resulting in divorce and loss of child custody. Based on a qualitative, context-informed perspective, we explored the role of the ultra-Orthodox community and its leaders in HIPD cases from the perspectives of social workers and disaffiliated divorced parents. We conducted nine semi-structured in-depth interviews with social workers specialized in HIPD, reviewed 25 reports by twelve social workers likewise specialized in HIPD, and conducted 14 semi-structured in-depth interviews with disaffiliated divorced parents. The interviews and reports were thematically analyzed and triangulated, yielding three main themes: (1) the active role of the community; (2) the children as instrumental in the community’s active role; and (3) challenges for social work. The discussion sheds light on the community’s role in the dispute escalation process. It also highlights the importance of promoting awareness, knowledge, and skills among social workers for intervening in such complex situations, given the clash between the need to collaborate with community leaders and their often-counterproductive role in HIPD.
... In particular, support from the association, face to face and mediated contacts are significantly linked with lower levels of parents' depression and higher levels of parents' self-esteem and satisfaction with life. That means that parents are better when they feel less alone and are more able to receive support; when parents are better, their children are better as well, confirming the protective role of social networks (Bailey and Zvonkovic, 2003;Greeff and Van Der Merwe, 2004;Greif and Holtz Deal, 2012). ...
Chapter
As a distinct construct from both marital relationship and parent-child relationship, coparenting refers primarily to the extent to which parents experience joint responsibility for children’s well-being, are able to cooperate and coordinate in the decisions regarding their children, and trust each other. These aspects concern visible behaviors and interactions between parents, together with their perceptions. In the past decades, a growing number of studies have demonstrated the influence of coparenting on marital and parent-child relationships, and on children’s psychosocial adjustment, from early toddlerhood through adolescence. Coparenting and its effects have been mostly explored among divorced parents or intact families separately. The present study was aimed at comparing perceptions of coparenting in divorced and married parents (100 divorced parents and 85 married parents), both fathers and mothers, and assessing the relation between coparenting and school-age and adolescent children’s psychosocial adjustment. Results showed that divorced parents, especially fathers, perceived a lower level of coparenting. Moreover, children’s adjustment were related to coparenting only in the group of divorced parents.
... The interruption of a TU-C and the ensuing dissolution of the couple, on the contrary, prompts a perception of damage, not only at the individual level, but at the social one as well. The responsibility of the break-up must be traced back, depending on cases, to one of the partners or to both, as an effect of an evaluative deliberation that any subject outside the couple feels entitled to carry out, consciously or unconsciously, on the basis on his/her own knowledge of the relevant facts and of his/her social and emotional closeness to either partner [180]. As already pointed out above, the cooperation among partners within the couple tends to be regarded as a public good, and therefore the couple break-up creates a social incident [181], with the consequent, spontaneous activation of social defense mechanisms such as gossiping, which at least in part function as a deterrent [182]. ...
... In particular, support from the association, face to face and mediated contacts are significantly linked with lower levels of parents' depression and higher levels of parents' self-esteem and satisfaction with life. That means that parents are better when they feel less alone and are more able to receive support; when parents are better, their children are better as well, confirming the protective role of social networks (Bailey and Zvonkovic, 2003;Greeff and Van Der Merwe, 2004;Greif and Holtz Deal, 2012). ...
Book
In the past years abundant research analyzed the social, relational, and individual aspects of separated parents to better understand the factors which may protect or make parents and children at risk, but still little research has shown an "integrated perspective" on separation. This study is an attempt to adopt an integrated perspective to improve scientific knowledge on separation. In this study we examined the link between social (social network size, frequency of social contacts, relationships with families of origin), relational (coparenting, parents' alienation, perceived violence, and parentification), and individual factors (anxiety and depression, satisfaction with life, self-esteem, sense of coherence, and generativity) and parents' and children's wellbeing. The results showed that fathers and mothers presented different paths of separation: more conflicting for fathers and less conflicting for mothers. Our data, however, showed a weaker and more complex role of fathers than mothers. The frequency of social contacts was linked to a more positive perception of the former partner's behaviors and to numerous aspects of parents' wellbeing, confirming the protective role of social networks as well as of the support received by the former partner's family of origin. An extremely critical aspect was parentification behaviors that were linked to the malaise not only of the child, but also of the parents. The variables most correlated with parents' and children's well being were one's own and the former partner's coparenting abilities as well as parents' sense of coherence: being cooperative parents, that are able to speak and support each other as well as able to manage and understand their social reality, is clearly a protective factor for children's wellbeing.
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