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Divorce, conflict and mental health: how the quality of intimate relationships is linked to post-divorce well-being

Sara Symoens (UGent) , Elien Colman (UGent) and Piet Bracke (UGent)
Author
Organization
Abstract
Partner relationships, including new relationships after divorce, are found to be beneficial for mental health. However, the impact of their quality remains unclear; this uncertainty applies to past and ongoing relationships between ex-spouses as well. We study the relationship between conflict—in the prior marriage, with the ex-partner, with a new partner—and both positive and negative mental health. Multilevel linear models are carried out on a subsample of 892 divorcees from the dataset “Divorce in Flanders.” Living together with a new partner, either in marriage or cohabitation, seems beneficial for mental health, even in cases of (high) conflict. Nevertheless, conflict places a burden on well-being, especially for women in non-marital relationships. Ongoing conflict with the ex-spouse is also damaging for mental health. In contrast, prior marital conflict does not relate to lower, but to slightly higher, levels of life satisfaction after divorce.
Keywords
GENDER-DIFFERENCES, MARITAL-STATUS, YOUNG, COHABITATION, TRANSITIONS, WOMEN, SOCIAL STRESS, MARRIAGE, PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTRESS, DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMS

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Chicago
Symoens, Sara, Elien Colman, and Piet Bracke. 2014. “Divorce, Conflict and Mental Health: How the Quality of Intimate Relationships Is Linked to Post-divorce Well-being.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology 44 (3): 220–233.
APA
Symoens, Sara, Colman, E., & Bracke, P. (2014). Divorce, conflict and mental health: how the quality of intimate relationships is linked to post-divorce well-being. JOURNAL OF APPLIED SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY, 44(3), 220–233.
Vancouver
1.
Symoens S, Colman E, Bracke P. Divorce, conflict and mental health: how the quality of intimate relationships is linked to post-divorce well-being. JOURNAL OF APPLIED SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY. Wiley; 2014;44(3):220–33.
MLA
Symoens, Sara, Elien Colman, and Piet Bracke. “Divorce, Conflict and Mental Health: How the Quality of Intimate Relationships Is Linked to Post-divorce Well-being.” JOURNAL OF APPLIED SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY 44.3 (2014): 220–233. Print.
@article{3164571,
  abstract     = {Partner relationships, including new relationships after divorce, are found to be beneficial for mental health. However, the impact of their quality remains unclear; this uncertainty applies to past and ongoing relationships between ex-spouses as well. We study the relationship between conflict---in the prior marriage, with the ex-partner, with a new partner---and both positive and negative mental health. Multilevel linear models are carried out on a subsample of 892 divorcees from the dataset {\textquotedblleft}Divorce in Flanders.{\textquotedblright} Living together with a new partner, either in marriage or cohabitation, seems beneficial for mental health, even in cases of (high) conflict. Nevertheless, conflict places a burden on well-being, especially for women in non-marital relationships. Ongoing conflict with the ex-spouse is also damaging for mental health. In contrast, prior marital conflict does not relate to lower, but to slightly higher, levels of life satisfaction after divorce.},
  author       = {Symoens, Sara and Colman, Elien and Bracke, Piet},
  issn         = {0021-9029},
  journal      = {JOURNAL OF APPLIED SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY},
  keyword      = {GENDER-DIFFERENCES,MARITAL-STATUS,YOUNG,COHABITATION,TRANSITIONS,WOMEN,SOCIAL STRESS,MARRIAGE,PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTRESS,DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMS},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {220--233},
  publisher    = {Wiley},
  title        = {Divorce, conflict and mental health: how the quality of intimate relationships is linked to post-divorce well-being},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jasp.12215},
  volume       = {44},
  year         = {2014},
}

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