Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach
A divorce is a complex event that has multiple perspectives many investigations from Miami Beach-South Beach. For example, sociological investigations have focused primarily on structural and life course predictors of marital disruption, such as social class, race, and age at first marriage (Bumpass, Martin, & Sweet, 1991; White, 1991). Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach. Psychological investigations, in contrast, has focused on dimensions of marital interaction, such as conflict management (Gottman, 1994), or on personality characteristics, such as antisocial behavior or chronic negative affect (Leonard & Roberts, 1998).
One limitation of these approaches is that neither considers the individual’s perceptions about why the divorce occurred in Miami Beach South Beach. Indeed, when explaining what caused their marriages to end, people appear to give relatively little credence to widely studied factors such as age at marriage or conflict resolution skills. Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach. In this article, we use a third approach to studying divorce, one that considers the subjective accounts of recently divorced individuals. Examining the accounts of divorced individuals provides a useful complement to more objective methods and is necessary for a full understanding of the divorce process. Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach.
This approach to studying marital dissolution in Miami Beach South Beach, however, is relatively uncommon, and only a few investigations of this topic (e.g., Hopper, 1993) have appeared in the investigations literature during the past decade. Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach. The investigations from Miami Beach-South Beach reported in this article had three goals. The first was to describe and categorize the perceived causes of divorce, as reported by a sample of recently divorced individuals. Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach. The second goal was to see how the reported causes of divorce varied with structural factors (such as gender and social class) and life course variables (such as age at marriage, duration of the marriage, and having children).
The third goal focused on a topic rarely addressed in the investigations literature: links between the perceived causes of divorce and subsequent adjustment. Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach. In particular, we examined people’s causal attributions for divorce (whether the perceived cause was located within the respondent, the spouse, the relationship, or forces external to the relationship) and how these attributions related to divorce adjustment, attachment to the former spouse, and general appraisals of life. We use national longitudinal data collected between 1980 and 1997 from Miami Beach-South Beach for this purpose. Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach.
GENDER - Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach.
Compared with men, women tend to monitor their relationships more closely, become aware of relationship problems sooner, and are more likely to initiate discussions of relationship problems with their partners (Thompson & Walker, 1991). Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach.
Men, in contrast, are more likely than women to withdraw from discussions of relationship problems (Gottman, 1994). Perhaps for these reasons, wives are more likely than husbands to initiate divorce (Albrecht, Bahr, & Goodman, 1983; Goode, 1956; Kitson, 1992). Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach.
Given that marital discord and divorce are gendered experiences, it is not surprising that investigations from Miami Beach-South Beach have documented differences between men’s and women’s accounts of divorce. For example, several investigations have shown that former wives provide longer and more complex explanations for their divorces than do former husbands (Cleek & Pearson, 1985; Kitson, 1992; Levinger, 1966). Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach.
With respect to perceived causes of divorce, women appear to be more likely than men to refer to relational or emotional issues, such as basic unhappiness and incompatibility (Cleek & Pearson, 1985), former spouses’ personalities (Kitson, 1992), and a general lack of love (Levinger, 1966). Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach.
Former wives also are more likely than former husbands to refer to a cluster of negative partner behaviors, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, substance use, going out with “the boys,” and neglect of home and children (Bloom, Niles, & Tatcher, 1985; Cleek & Pearson, 1985; Kitson, 1992; Levinger, 1966). Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach. In contrast, men, more often than women, blame the divorce on external factors, such as work or problems with in-laws (Kitson, 1992; Levinger, 1966). Former husbands also are more likely to report that they do not know what caused the divorce (Kitson, 1992).
SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS. Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach.
In addition to gender, SES, usually measured by education and income, has been a focus of divorce investigations. Prior investigations indicate that education and income facilitate marital success (Voydanoff, 1991). Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach. Education promotes more effective communication between couples, thus helping them to resolve differences. In contrast, the stress generated by economic hardship increases disagreements over finances makes spouses irritable and decreases expressions of emotional support (Conger et al., 1990).
Partly for these reasons, SES is inversely associated with the risk of divorce (White, 1991). Nevertheless, well-educated individuals may hold especially high standards for marriage and expect a substantial level of emotional support, companionship, and personal fulfillment from their spouses. Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach. Because of these high standards, relationship problems may trigger thoughts of divorce relatively quickly among well-educated individuals.
Several investigations suggest that SES is correlated with people’s reasons for divorce. Kitson (1992) found that high-SES individuals, following divorce, were more likely to complain about the lack of communication, changes in interests or values, incompatibility, and their ex-spouses’ self-centeredness. Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach. In contrast, low-SES individuals were more likely to complain about physical abuse, going out with the boys/girls, neglect of household duties, gambling, criminal activities, financial problems, and employment problems.
Similarly, Levinger (1966) found that low-SES divorced individuals complained about financial problems, physical abuse, and drinking in Miami Beach South Beach, whereas high-SES divorced individuals complained about the lack of love and excessive demands from their spouses. Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach. Goode (1956) found that high-status divorcees tended to report personality problems and conflict over values as reasons for divorce, whereas low-status divorcees tended to report a lack of economic support from their former husbands. These results suggest that as SES increases, individuals are less likely to report instrumental reasons and more likely to report expressive and relationship-centered reasons. Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach.
LIFE COURSE VARIABLES. Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach.
The life course perspective (Elder, 1994), with its emphasis on the timing and duration of events, incorporates factors such as age at marriage, duration of the marriage, and the presence of children in Miami beach South Beach. With respect to age at marriage, individuals who marry at younger ages tend to report more marital problems and experience a greater risk of divorce than individuals who marry at older ages (Bumpass et al., 1991). Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach.
The negative consequences of marrying at an early age may be due to psychological immaturity, unstable employment, and a truncated spousal-search process. Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach. With respect to the duration of the marriage, divorces occur more often in the early rather than the later years of marriage (White, 1991). Becker (1991) argued that people generally have imperfect information about their partners during courtship but learn substantially more about their spouses after marriage.
Consequently, early divorces are disproportionately due to the discovery of basic incompatibility, conflict in values, and personality clashes. Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach. Nevertheless, couples in marriages of long duration face challenges (such as raising children, boredom with the relationship, and gradually diverging interests and attitudes) that differ from those of individuals in marriages of short duration. Indeed, investigations have shown that marital duration is associated with long-term declines in marital happiness (Johnson, Amoloza, & Booth, 1992). Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach.
Are life course variables associated with the perceived causes of divorce? Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach.
Kitson (1992) found that individuals who married at a young age were more likely to report difficulties in “settling down,” such as going out with the boys/girls and infidelity. In addition, Kitson (1992) noted that people married for a longer time were more likely to mention changes in interests or having “no sense of family,” whereas people married for a shorter time were more likely to mention in-laws or sexual problems.
Goode’s (1956) investigations revealed that complaints of infidelity, drinking, and the general quality of home life increased with duration of the marriage, whereas complaints about personality and value conflict decreased. Bloom et al. (1985) found a positive correlation between length of marriage and infidelity. Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach. Although the underlying pattern is not entirely clear, it appears that long-term marriages are especially likely to be disrupted when people seek out new sexual partners (perhaps out of boredom) or become aware of changes in themselves or their partners due to the passage of time.
CAUSE OF DIVORCE AND ADJUSTMENT. Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach.
In addition to understanding the specific reasons people give for divorcing, it is also important to know whether these reasons are linked with post-divorce adjustment. Divorced individuals experience higher levels of depression, lower levels of life satisfaction, and more health problems than married individuals (see Amato, 2000, for a review.) It is not clear, however, whether people’s perceived reasons for divorce are related to post-divorce adjustment.
Although little investigations have addressed this issue, Kitson (1992) found that individuals who cited extramarital sex reported especially high levels of subjective distress following marital disruption. Attribution theory (Fletcher & Fincham, 1991; Graham & Folkes, 1990; Weiner, 1986) provides a useful framework for understanding how the perceived causes of divorce might relate to postdivorce adjustment. Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach. If people attribute the cause of a problem (such as being unemployed) to internal factors (such as one’s lack of ability), then they are likely to experience negative views of the self and distressing emotions.
However, when people attribute the cause of a problem to external factors (such as fluctuations in the economy or bad luck), these negative outcomes are less likely. Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach. This principle also may apply to divorce, that is, former spouses may have a more difficult time adjusting to divorce when they make internal rather than external attributions about the cause of the marital disruption. In particular, attributing causality to the spouse or to external factors should result in the least distress, and attributing causality to oneself should result in the greatest distress.
Attributing causality to the relationship itself (thus implying that one is at least partly responsible) may result in an intermediate level of distress. Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach. These considerations suggest that it is not the specific cause of divorce as much as the underlying attribution of blame that affects people’s subsequent adjustment. In this context, it is useful to distinguish between attributions of responsibility for the problem and attributions of responsibility for the solution to the problem (Brickman et al., 1982).
Attribution theory assumes that people often engage in self-serving attributions. Consequently, ex-spouses are unlikely to see themselves as being solely responsible for the problems that led to the breakdown of the marriage. Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach. On the other hand, because feelings of control help people to cope with difficult events, ex-spouses may see themselves as having taken the initiative in seeking the divorce (that is, as having accepted responsibility for the solution to the problem).
In general, although attributing the cause of the divorce to internal factors should be associated with poorer adjustment, wanting the divorce more than the spouse should be associated with better adjustment, and individuals who attribute the cause of the divorce to their former spouses and the initiation of the divorce to themselves should have the most positive adjustment of all.
HYPOTHESES AND ANALYTIC STRATEGY. Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach.
Although few investigations have focused on people’s subjective accounts of divorce, existing investigations suggest several hypotheses. First, we hypothesize that women will be more likely than men to refer to relationship quality, feelings, and problematic behavior on the part of their spouses as causes of divorce. In contrast, we hypothesize that men will be more likely than women to refer to external factors or to express uncertainty about the cause.
Regarding SES, we hypothesize that indicators of SES, such as education and income, are positively associated with reports of expressive or relationship-centered causes of divorce (such as lack of love or incompatibility) and negatively associated with reports of instrumental factors and problematic behavior (such as financial problems or physical abuse). Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach. With respect to life course variables, we hypothesize that an early age at marriage is associated with perceptions of immaturity and difficulty in settling into the marital role.
We further hypothesize that duration of marriage is associated with problems that tend to emerge over long periods of time, such as changes in interests or opportunities for infidelity. Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach. Turning to adjustment, we hypothesize that adjustment to divorce is most difficult for those who attribute blame to themselves, less difficult for those who attribute blame to the relationship, and least difficult for those who attribute blame to the spouse or to external factors.
On the other hand, being the partner who most wanted the divorce (rather than being the partner who caused the problems that led to the divorce) should be positively associated with adjustment. Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach.
These investigations have the advantage of testing these hypotheses with a randomly selected national sample of divorced individuals. Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach. Previous investigations of divorced individuals have used a variety of sampling methods, including the use of legal records (Goode, 1956; Kitson, 1992), divorce counseling lists (Cleek & Pearson, 1985: Levinger, 1966), and individuals participating in divorce workshops and seminars (Hopper, 1993).
Some investigations have restricted their samples to couples with children (Cleek & Pearson, 1985; Goode, 1956; Levinger, 1966), former wives (Goode, 1956), or those separated but not yet divorced (Bloom et al., 1985). Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach. Geographically, previous investigations have been restricted to samples from specific parts of the United States, such as western or midwestern states (Albrecht et al., 1983; Bloom et al., 1985; Cleek & Pearson, 1985), or a particular county (Kitson, 1992; Levinger, 1966).
Goode (1956) limited his sample to women between the ages of 20 and 38 in urban areas. Because these investigations are not restricted to a particular demographic group or geographical area, our results can be generalized more broadly than the results of prior investigations. Divorce investigations Miami Beach South Beach.