Time Heals Some Wounds: Psychological Adjustment To Marital Breakup

Knöpfli, Bina; Hutchison, Sara; Perrig-Chiello, Pasqualina (11 July 2013). Time Heals Some Wounds: Psychological Adjustment To Marital Breakup. In: 13th European Congress of Psychology. Stockholm, Schweden. 09.-12.07.2013.

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Marital breakup is among the most incisive stressors in adult life. While the negative effects of divorce on well-being are well documented in research literature, the large interindividual differences in psychological adaptation to this critical life event over time are still not well understood. Particularly the question, whether marital breakup represents a temporary crisis or rather a chronic strain is still controversially discussed. Against this empirical and theoretical background the aim of this study is to investigate the psychological adaptation (depression, perceived stress and life satisfaction) to marital breakup in a sample of 289 middle aged persons (M = 50.2 years) who were partnered at least 10 years (M = 23. 5 years). We compared two groups: one with a separation within the last 12 months (58 women, 25 men), another with a separation within the last 2-5 years (97 women, 38 men). A group of 441 age-matched married people served as control group. Findings from group comparison reveal that time passed since separation is indeed associated with better psychological adaptation (lower depression and perceived stress rates). Results from regression analyses show that differences in psychological adaptation are a function of neuroticism, resilience, new partnership and time passed since separation. These results provide support for the crisis approach and offer important insights into the process of adaptation to marital breakup, which in can be used for counselling.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Developmental Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Knöpfli, Bina; Hutchison, Sara and Perrig-Chiello, Pasqualina


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology




Bina Knöpfli

Date Deposited:

22 Sep 2014 13:06

Last Modified:

14 Jan 2015 12:04





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