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Title: Cognitive emotion regulation and divorce adjustment : a mixed methods study
Author: Walls, Melanie
ISNI:       0000 0004 2701 2546
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2009
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This three-phase sequential explanatory mixed methods study investigated the role of cognitive emotion regulation in the divorce adjustment process. Sixty-four participants who had filed for divorce during the previous five years completed questionnaires measuring their use of nine cognitive emotion regulation strategies, their level of divorce adjustment and their emotional well-being. Following this four well adjusted and four poorly adjusted participants were interviewed about their experiences of emotion regulation in relation to their divorce. This enabled a comparison with the quantitative findings and helped to develop a greater understanding of the process of cognitive emotion regulation. The transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis and the combined results indicated that positive reappraisal, putting in perspective, constructive thought focus and objective attribution of responsibility were beneficial to divorce adjustment. By contrast, catastrophising, destructive thought focus and blame were found to be detrimental to the process. In addition the study found that female divorcees appeared to benefit from refocusing on planning, but male divorcees reported that planning was difficult until later in the adjustment process. An additional interpretative phenomenological analysis was then carried out on one transcript to better understand the role of blame hi divorce adjustment. The analysis indicated the participant's experience of selfblame as debilitating, and his subsequent move to other-blame, as being empowering and more comfortable. However the analysis highlighted underlying unresolved thoughts and feelings that seemed to be preventing the participant from moving forwards. This highlighted the clinical implications of encouraging divorcees to reevaluate their polarised thoughts to regain some perception of control over their future. This study indicated that the role of cognitive coping strategies varies with time and across gender, suggesting that future research could employ a mixedmethods longitudinal design, with a larger sample, to help to develop a greater understanding of the roles of the strategies, and the differences across gender, through the adjustment process. This design would also help to develop a greater understanding of the process of movement from detrimental to beneficial strategies and the role of gendered narratives about marriage on the adjustment process.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available