The role of extended kin in the adjustment to marital separation

Graham B. Spanier, Sandra Hanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


A nonprobability purposive sample of 205 individuals separated 26 months or less was interviewed about their marital separation and its aftermath. Contrary to expectations based on earlier research and current theorizing, the findings indicate that support from and interaction with extended kin either are unrelated or negatively related to the adjustment to marital separation. The findings further suggest that the potential advantages of support and interaction offered by kin may be moderated by a variety of familial sanctions such as criticism and disapproval. These results, however, replicated Goode's (1956) finding from an earlier generation, which demonstrated that adjustment was enhanced when kin were indifferent to the divorce-neither offering approval nor disapproval. The results also suggest that in many cases it is likely that adjustment to separation begins before the time relatives first learn of the separation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-48
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Divorce
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 19 1982

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Law
  • Demography


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