Adjustment to separation and divorce: An analysis of 50 case studies

Graham B. Spanier, Robert F. Casto

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77 Scopus citations


This paper reports the findings of a study designed to provide an in-depth analysis of the postseparation period. Data from 50 open-ended, unstructured case study interviews were used to identify the critical areas of postseparation and postdivorce adjustment. Approximately 1,000 pages of verbatim field notes were collected. These data revealed that there are two separate but overlapping adjustments: (a) to the dissolution of the marriage and (b) to setting up a new life-style. Sources of significant adjustment problems reported by various segments of the sample included the legal system, lawyers, property settlements, children, the respondent’s social network, emotional-psychological adjustment, economics, and heterosexual (dating) relationships. Four hypotheses were also examined. These hypotheses examined (a) the effects of lingering attachment to the former spouse, (b) the degree of social interaction outside the, home, (c) the role of dating relationships, and (d) the relative effects of sudden and unexpected separations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-253
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Divorce
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 16 1979

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Law
  • Demography


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