Thesis

The impact of parental divorce and conflict on a person' ability to cope

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among two predictor variables (parental divorce status and parental conflict) and two outcome variables (adaptive coping scores and maladaptive coping scores). Participants (n = 509) were recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (M-Turk). An independent samples t test found those whose parents divorced had significantly higher maladaptive coping skills scores and marginally significant lower adaptive coping skills scores than those whose parents did not divorce. A bivariate correlation test found a moderate, positive correlation between parental conflict and maladaptive coping skills scores and a weak, negative but non-significant correlation between parental conflict and adaptive coping skills scores. Contrary to my expectations, there was a stronger positive association between conflict and maladaptive coping for those whose parents divorced than those whose parents did not divorce. Overall, the results of this study suggest that parental divorce and conflict are associated with maladaptive, but not adaptive, coping. A major limitation was the inclusion of participants not from the US. Cultural differences may help to explain discrepancies between these results and the existing literature.

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