The ties that bind: relationship attachment between former spouses

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Virginia Tech


Using survey data from 219 divorced custodial mothers randomly selected from public court records, this research investigated variables which may contribute to increased attachment to a former spouse, postdivorce. A path analysis was conducted to determine the effects of the selected variables on attachment. The findings indicated that attachment was greater for women whose husbands had wanted the divorce, for those who had been married for a longer period of time, for those who were experiencing a difficult time with parenting, and for those who had better coparental relationships with their former spouses. The degree of hostility surrounding the divorce, current conflict between the former spouses, the custody arrangement, and the mother's satisfaction with financial support all had an indirect effect on attachment through their effects on conflict and the quality of the coparental relationship. Possible explanations for these findings as well as implications for therapy are discussed.