Beyond the Average Divorce provides marriage and family scholars and students a rich depiction of how children and adults of all ages respond to diverse divorce experiences. Rather than emphasizing means and averages in looking at “typical” family reactions to divorce, authors David H. Demo and Mark A. Fine emphasize variability and change over time in the pre-divorce, divorce, and post-divorce process. The book's three parts explore theoretical and methodological tools for studying divorce, the divorce process and its multiple pathways, and future directions in research.

Key Features

  • Includes cutting-edge research on how children are affected by multiple transitions in family structure and parenting arrangements during the divorce process
  • Covers the most common causes of divorce and how the family environment deteriorates during the years leading up to divorce
  • Provides easy-to-understand descriptions and examples of how specific research methods can be used to study divorce
  • Offers a dynamic theoretical model of divorce and how it is experienced by family members in a wide variety of family situations
  • Discusses policy implications as well as directions for future theoretical, research, and clinical work in this vital area

Beyond the Average Divorce is intended as a core textbook for use in upper-level undergraduate or graduate courses in Family Stress and Divorce, Dysfunctional Families, Sociology of the Family, and Couples, Marriage, and Family Counseling.

Conceptualizing Divorce Variation and Fluidity

Conceptualizing divorce variation and fluidity

Perhaps no aspect of family life is more widely misunderstood, stigmatized, and problematized than divorce. What does the divorce process feel like for most children and adults who experience it? Is it, as much of the popular culture leads us to believe, a uniformly wrenching psychological experience that wreaks havoc on everyone involved and causes devastating, often permanent emotional scars? Or is there substantial variation within and across families in the experience of and adjustment to divorce? How should researchers think about and study the divorce process?

In this chapter, we describe a theoretical model for understanding the divorce process and family members' postdivorce adjustment. Drawing on the voluminous empirical literature on divorce, as well as on ...

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