Factors Influencing Adjustment to Late-Life Divorce
From a study by Karen Brown Wilson and Michael R. DeShane
Although the rate of divorce among older Americans has increased steadily, little attention has been paid to late life divorce. To describe the role of age and other factors which might influence adjustment to divorce in later life, data from a larger pilot study were used: 81 divorced persons over the age of 60 completed in-depth, structured interviews; and data were collected from records of 240 individuals filing for divorce, in which one of the spouses was over 60.
Results showed that divorcing older adults shared many characteristics with younger divorcing persons, e.g., low occupational status, few assets, weak religious ties, urban residence, weak kinship ties, and early marriage. The cause often given for divorce was lack of emotional gratification, generally precipitated by a particular stressful event.
Although women were more likely than men to rate their marriage as of low quality, they reacted more negatively to the idea of divorce. Men were less successful than women in post-divorce adjustment. A divorce adjustment model developed to predict low post-divorce adjustment suggests a set of relationships between five predictor variables: anticipated cost, divorce experience, consequences, time, and sex. Sex, type of divorce experience, and overall consequences accounted for over half the variance in post-divorce adjustment scores. The findings sugggest that without the roles of wife and mother, older divorced women are ill-prepared emotionally, socially or financially to adapt to divorce.
Take the Fisher Divorce Adjustment Scale at www.DivorceSeminarCenter.com