Problems and coping strategies of urban divorced men at the time of divorce and six months later
This study was conducted to examine the problems and coping strategies of urban divorced men at the time of divorce (during the first month--Time 1) and six months later (Time 2). Both pre-determined coping strategies (formed as a result of previous research), and newly generated coping strategies for the target population were examined. Three independent variables-age, anxiety, and sex role orientation--were tested to ascertain their effect on degree of helpfulness of the coping strategies.Courthouse records were examined during a six-and-three-quarters-month time period in two counties in Indiana. The names of the men who had decrees granted during this time span were obtained. This resulted in 187 phone contacts in which the purpose of the study was explained and the research instruments briefly described. There were 164 men who volunteered to participate. They were sent a research packet consisting of a cover letter, a participant contact form, the instruments (a background questionnaire, Questionnaire II--a psychological adjustment scale, the Family Coping Inventory, the Maferr inventory of Masculine Values, and the Checklist of Problems and Concerns), and a self-addressed, stamped envelope. There were 123 men who returned the research packet at Time 1 and 84 at Time 2. Multivariate analysis and a correlated t-test were used to test the research hypotheses.FindingsSeven hypotheses were rejected at the .05 level. Significant differences were found:1. In the perceived helpfulness of pre-determined (and generated) coping strategies between older and younger men at Time 2.2. In the perceived helpfulness of pre-determined (and generated) coping strategies between higher and lower anxiety at Time 1.3. In the perceived helpfulness of pre-determined (and generated) coping strategies between higher and lower anxiety at Time 2.4. Between Time 1 and Time 2 means on the problem factors a. Between the means of Factor 1--Loneliness at Time 1 and Time 2.b. Between the means of Factor 5--Control and Competence at Time 1 and Time 2.Conclusions1. All divorced men do not fit the "self-confident swinging bachelor" stereotype. Problems related to social relationships seem to be a major cause of concern at both Time 1 and Time 2, as is loneliness. Loneliness decreases significantly, however, at Time 2.2. The results confirm the existence of stable problem factors over time.3. It appears that there are relatively stable coping strategies found across time and populations. Those found most often are concerned with: Maintaining Family Stability Establishing Independence Dating and Socializing with Friends Leisure ActivitiesContact with RelataivesDivorce Related ActivitiesSeeking Understanding Through Personal and Professional Relationships Expressing Self Community Involvement4. It would be beneficial to adopt a single coping strategy framework and impose this structure on subjects in future research studies rather than generate new sets of strategies. Degrees of helpfulness could be ascertained while providing a consistent foundation for comparison.5. Anxiety level seems to be the most important independent variable in this study in perceived degree of helpfulness. Age also plays a role.