Publication Year



Family, divorce, personality, love, marriage, parenting


Family, Life Course, and Society | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


This study was conducted to investigate the impact of parental divorce on such personality variables as global optimism and self-esteem, and on attitudes toward love and marriage. One hundred thirty-five women (64%) and men (36%) enrolled at the University of Redlands participated in this study. Of this sample, most were Caucasians (67%), Hispanics (14%), and Asians (8%). Most participants were from intact (64%) and divorced families (31%). A questionnaire was developed specifically for this study which included Sheier and Carver's (1985) Life Orientation Test, Rosenberg's (1965) Self-Esteem Scale, two subscales from Munro and Adams' (1978) New Love Attitude Scale, an adapted version of Wallin's (1954) Favorableness of Attitude to Marriage Scale, and the "Conflict" and "Cohesion" subscales from Moos and Moos' (1994) Family Environment Scale. In addition, participants read five scenarios depicting couples on the verge of divorce and were asked to rate each impending divorce for it's likelihood and acceptability. Five reasons for divorce were presented in the scenarios (financial troubles, lack of communication, domestic abuse, infidelity, and growing apart). Results indicated that all participants were fairly positive about their chances of having a successful marriage, as well as optimistic about their futures. In addition, participants seemed relatively neutral in their attitudes toward divorce in general, but seemed to become more "opinionated" when asked to rate specific cases involving divorce. Possible social implications are discussed regarding these attitudes toward divorce, and the effect parental divorce seems to have on views of marriage and love.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

Sociology and Anthropology