|Abstrakt: ||The present study focuses on the problem of psychological well-being of divorce initiators and non-initiators, and the resources that help them to achieve well-being.
In the present study, divorce is understood as a complex and multidimensional phenomenon. Furthermore, divorce is one of the more stressful events in life, one which changes almost every aspect of life. It has been assumed that for majority of people divorce is connected with a crisis, or seeing it as a turning point in life, and with a sense of loss: with feeling sad or hurt, with a sense of guilt, anger, rage, and so on. It has also been assumed that experiencing divorce is different for initiators (i.e. the persons who decide to leave their spouses) and for non-initiators (persons who are left) (Emery, 2012). In particular, an assumption has been made that psychological well-being tends to decrease significantly in situations which present great challenges.
The author’s own conception of research was prepared and elaborated on the basis of models of adaptation to crisis: Double ABC-X Model by McCubbin and Patterson (1982; in: McKenry i Price, 1994) and Hoff’s The Paradigm of Crisis (2001; in: Weber, 2011). In turn, the theoretical concepts of post-divorce adjustment of Amato (2000) and Demo and Fine (2010) were used to concretise particular parts of the author’s model – especially those concerning the role of risk (long-lasting sense of loss) and protective factors (personal and relational resources) in post-divorce adjustment. Psychological well-being was considered the indicator of positive adjustment. According to the author’s conception of research, the sense of loss after divorce exerts influence on psychological well-being.
The aim of the author’s research was to verify which of the personal resources (ego-resiliency, as well as acceptance of divorce as a specific factor helpful in coping with the divorce crisis – a factor often discussed in literature) and relational resources (perceived social support) contribute to building psychological well-being after a divorce crisis amongst divorce initiators and non-initiators. Three kinds of research questions were posed: (1) questions about the differences between divorce initiators and non-initiators, (2) questions about predictors of psychological well-being and presence of direct relationships, (3) questions about the role of indirect relationships (mediatorial and moderatorial) between variables assumed to be the predictors of psychological well-being (sense of loss, acceptance of divorce, ego-resiliency, perceived social support) and psychological well-being of people after a divorce.
The research was conducted in Poland in cooperation with family diagnostic and consultation centres, psychological and pedagogical counselling centres and other institutions helping children and families. In total, the study group consisted of 157 people after divorce, amongst whom 64.7% were divorce initiators and 35.3% were divorce non-initiators. Participation in the study was voluntary and anonymous.
It may well be said that satisfactory answers have been found to the research questions posed in the present study. The most important results include:
(1) Existence of significant differences in psychological functioning between divorce initiators and non-initiators was confirmed (initiators evaluated themselves to be in better situation than non-initiators and they presented a higher level of psychological well-being and of the resources examined. In turn, non-initiators presented a higher level of the sense of loss and had difficulties with accepting their divorce).
(2) It was indicated that the model of direct relationships between variables, whose aim was to verify the predictors of psychological well-being amongst people after divorce, was indeed a simplification of the relationships between variables. Therefore, it was decided to conduct the analyses of indirect effects (mediation, moderation and conditional process analyses) with the use of both detailed models as well as a general one.
(3) The role of individual resources (ego-resiliency and acceptance as the specific factor which facilitates adaptation to the post-divorce situation) and relational resources (perceived social support) as mediators was identified. According to the assumptions, the investigated resources play a protective role in the process of building a state of well-being after divorce. Furthermore, due to the post-divorce sense of loss, resources undergo weakening and deterioration.
(4) The role of the “initiator status” as a moderator in relationships between the sense of loss and acceptance of divorce, and between acceptance of divorce and psychological well-being was verified. Intensive sense of loss was connected with low level of acceptance of divorce; this relationship was particularly strong amongst divorce non-initiators. Furthermore, acceptance of divorce had greater significance in building psychological well-being in this group as compared to divorce initiators.
(5) As a result of the use of a general, complex model of indirect relationships, the meaning of all protective factors indispensable for psychological well-being and for achieving balance after a divorce was established. Also, the presence of moderated mediation was confirmed. Results show that the total mediation, in which acceptance of divorce is a mediator between sense of loss and psychological well-being, is statistically significant only in the group of divorce non-initiators.
The results obtained by the author of the present study are consistent with the findings by foreign researchers: the existence of differences between divorce initiators and non-initiators, among other things, has been confirmed. Furthermore, social support and acceptance of divorce proved to be important for building psychological well-being of people after divorce. Finally, the present study provides new information on the complexity of the conditions for psychological well-being amongst divorced people. The presented results indicate particular importance of acceptance of divorce, especially for people who were the non-initiators, and underline the role of various resources in reaching well-being and overcoming the negative influence of post-divorce sense of loss. Most importantly, the present research concentrates on an important individual resource of both divorce initiators and non-initiators, i.e. ego-resiliency, and its meaning for building psychological well-being, thus filling the gap identified in the area of research concerning post-divorce functioning. Conclusions that may be drawn from the results presented are important not only from the theoretical perspective; they can also provide assistance to practitioners helping divorce initiators and non-initiators to cope with the situation.|