Exploring Gray Divorce through Attachment, Communication and Repartnering
AuthorMcNelis, Melissa Jean
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe goal of this research was to explore cohort differences in the role of communication in romantic relationships throughout the lifespan. This project explored the direct and indirect effects of attachment styles (i.e., anxious, avoidant) and negative communication patterns (i.e., Gottman's four horsemen: criticism, defensiveness, contempt, stonewalling) on commitment levels, psychosocial outcomes, attitudes toward union transitions (i.e., marriage, divorce, cohabitation), reasons for divorce, and reasons for delaying divorce as a direct function of experience with marital biographies. A marital biography refers to the history or experiences with union transitions in romantic relationships. A secondary aim is to test differences in these same variables as a function of direct experience with divorce moderated by age at the first divorce. Participants, including young divorced adults between ages 18-49 (N = 162) and gray adults ages 50+ (N = 96), completed a survey with measures including attachment, communication practices, commitment, attitudes toward union transitions, psychosocial outcomes, reasons for divorce, and reasons for delaying divorce. The results indicated that, insecure attachment styles and Gottman's four horsemen are predictive of divorce, with stonewalling being an aggravating factor, particularly for anxious attachment styles, and the risk for divorce. The experience of union transitions, especially divorce, affect how we approach future romantic relationships in addition to altering psychosocial outcomes, personal, moral, and structural commitment. Gender differences were found in divorced participants’ personal and moral commitment, psychosocial outcomes, and reasons for divorce. Age at first divorce-related differences were present in participants' structural commitment, reasons for divorce, length of delay, and reasons for delaying divorce. Even though age at first divorce was not a moderating factor, it still played an important role in reasons leading up to and outcomes of divorce.
Degree ProgramGraduate College