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Divorce: Loss of Family Members

  • By: Gordon E. Finley
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

This entry focuses on divorce within the conceptual frameworks of family systems theory and the emotional losses engendered when family members part. Emotional loss occurs as the extended family system is divided by divorce into multiple and separate family systems, each characterized by the loss of contact and relationships with members of the original extended family. Emotional loss, in turn, is viewed as a psychological stressor linked to a host of negative health and psychological outcomes—particularly pervasive sadness and depression.

Family Systems Theory and Loss

The core tenet of family systems theory is that families are an interrelated and interdependent system wherein any change in one element of the system necessarily causes changes and consequences in the balance of the system. Should one or more members leave ...

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