Exploring the resilience of heartbroken divorced individuals at a university in London
Keywords:Divorce, Resilience, Heartbreak, Qualitative thematic analysis, online interview
This study explored how resilience was achieved and experienced among individuals who experienced heartbreak from divorce. If individuals experience resilience, the study will further explore how resilience was achieved. A sample of (n = 10) participants aged between 42 and 61 years underwent hour-long online interviews. Participants answered a series of open-ended questions, explaining their experiences of divorce and heartbreak. Through a qualitative thematic analysis, three main themes were identified: mental health, support of others, and positive and negative activities. There were noticeably high levels of common responses from shared experiences of the divorce process and how resilience was achieved. Results of the study found that while heartbreak and poor mental health conditions arise from divorce, overcoming them resiliently was achievable through positive activities and social support.
Aburn, G., Gott, M., & Hoare, K. (2016). What is resilience? An Integrative Review of empirical literature. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 72(5), 980-1000. https://doi.org/10.1111/jan.1288.
Ahern, N. R., Ark, P., & Byers, J. (2008). Resilience and coping strategies in adolescents. Pediatric Nursing, 20, 32-36 https://doi.org/10.7748/paed2008.12.20.10.32.c6903.
American Psychological Assosication (2022). Building your resilience. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/topics/resilience.
Baloyi, G. T. (2011). Factors influencing resilience in men after divorce: Exploring pastoral method of care to an African situation (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Pretoria, Pretoria.
Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment. Attachment and loss: (Vol. 1). Loss. New York: Basic Books.
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative research in psychology, 3(2), 77-101. https://doi.org/10.1191/1478088706qp063oa.
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2012). Thematic analysis. American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/13620-004.
Britton, P. C. (2004). The relation of coping strategies to alcohol consumption and alcohol-related consequences in a college sample, Addiction Research & Theory, 12(2), 103-114. https://doi.org/10.1080/16066350310001613062.
Cohen, S., Schwartz, J. E., Bromet, E. J., & Parkinson, D. K. (1991). Mental health, stress, and poor health behaviors in two community samples. Preventive Medicine, 20(2), 306-315. https://doi.org/10.1016/0091-7435(91)90029-4.
Fagan, P. F., & Churchill, A. (2012). The effects of divorce on children. Marri Research, 1, 1-48. Retrieved from https://marri.us/wp-content/uploads/The-Effects-of-Divorce-on-Children.pdf.
Feeney, B. C., & Monin, J. K. (2016). Divorce through the lens of attachment theory. In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of attachment, (3rd ed., pp. 941-965). New York: The Guilford Press.
Fisher, H. E., Aron, A., & Brown, L. L. (2006). Romantic love: A mammalian brain system for mate choice. Philosophical transactions of the royal society B: Biological Sciences, 361(1476), 2173-2186. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2006.1938.
Gilbert, S. P., & Sifers, S. K. (2011). Bouncing back from a breakup: Attachment, Time Perspective, mental health, and romantic loss. Journal of College Student Psychotherapy, 25(4), 295-310. https://doi.org/10.1080/87568225.2011.605693.
Hald, G. M., Cipri?, A., Øverup, C. S., Štulhofer, A., Lange, T., Sander, …, & Strizzi, J. M. (2020). Randomized controlled trial study of the effects of an online divorce platform on anxiety, depression, and somatization. Journal of Family Psychology, 34(6), 740–751. https://doi.org/10.1037/fam0000635.
Kitson, G. C. (1982). Attachment to the spouse in divorce: A Scale and its application. Journal of Marriage and Family, 44(2), 379-393. https://doi.org/10.2307/351547.
Ko?odziej-Zaleska, A., & Przyby?a-Basista, H. (2016). Psychological well-being of individuals after divorce: the role of social support. Current Issues in Personality Psychology, 4(4), 206-216. https://doi.org/10.5114/cipp.2016.62940.
Konnikova, M. (2016). How people learn to become resilient. The New Yorker, 11
Luthar, S. S., Cicchetti, D., & Becker, B. (2000). The construct of resilience: A critical evaluation and guidelines for future work. Child Development, 71(3), 543-562. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8624.00164.
Määttä, K. (2011). The Throes and Relief of Divorce, Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 52(6), 415-434. https://doi.org/10.1080/10502556.2011.592425.
Magura, M., & Shapiro, E. (1989). Alcohol consumption and divorce: Which causes which? Journal of Divorce, 12(1), 127-136. https://doi.org/10.1300/j279v12n01_08.
Masten, A. S. (2001). Ordinary magic: Resilience processes in development. American Psychologist, 56(3), 227-238. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066x.56.3.227.
Mikkelsen, K., Stojanovska, L., Polenakovic, M., Bosevski, M., & Apostolopoulos, V. (2017). Exercise and mental health. Maturitas, 106, 48-56. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.maturitas.2017.09.003.
Quinney, D. M., & Fouts, G. T. (2004). Resilience and divorce adjustment in adults participating in divorce recovery workshops. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 40(1-2), 55-68. https://doi.org/10.1300/j087v40n01_04.
Schilling, T. A. (2008). An examination of resilience processes in context: The case of Tasha. Urban Review, 40(3), 296-316. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11256-007-0080-8.
Emamzadeh, A. (2021). The most common causes of heartbreak. Psychology Today. Retrieved from. https://www.psychologytoday.com/za/blog/finding-new-home/202105/the-most-common-causes-heartbreak.
Shor, E., Roelfs, D. J., Bugyi, P., & Schwartz, J. E. (2012). Meta-analysis of marital dissolution and mortality: Reevaluating the intersection of gender and age. Social Science & Medicine, 75(1), 46–59. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.03.010.
Srivastava, A., & Mishra, A., (2016). A study on the impact of big five personality traits on consciousness. International Journal of Indian Psychology, 3(2), 77-83.
Stack, S., Eshleman, J. R. (1998). Marital status and happiness: A 17-nation study. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 60(2), 527–536. https://doi.org/10.2307/353867.
Symoens, S., Bastaits, K., Mortelmans, D., & Bracke, P. (2013). Breaking up, breaking hearts? Characteristics of the divorce process and well-being after divorce, Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 54(3), 177-196. https://doi.org/10.1080/10502556.2013.773792.
Symoens, S., Colman, E., & Bracke, P. (2014), Divorce, conflict, and mental health. Journal of Application Social Psychology, 44(3), 220-233. https://doi.org/10.1111/jasp.12215.
Taylor, F., & Bryant, R. A. (2007). The tendency to suppress inhibiting thoughts, and dream rebound. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 45(1), 163-168. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2006.01.005.
Umberson, D. (1992). Gender, marital status and the social control of health behavior. Social Science & Medicine, 34(8), 907–917. https://doi.org/10.1016/0277-9536(92)90259-s.
Van IJzendoorn, M. H., Palacios, J., Sonuga-Barke, E. J. S., Gunnar, M. R., Vorria, P., McCall, …, & Juffer, F. (2011). Children in institutional care: Delayed development and resilience. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 76(4), 8–30. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-5834.2011.00626.x.
Verhallen, A. M., Renken, R. J., Marsman, J. B. C., & ter Horst, G. J. (2019). Romantic relationship breakup: An experimental model to study effects of stress on depression like symptoms. Plos One, 14(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0217320.
Wallerstein, J. S. (1986). Women after divorce: Preliminary report from a ten-year follow-up. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 56(1), 65-77. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1939-0025.1986.tb01543.x.
Walsh, W. A., Dawson, J., & Mattingly, M. J. (2010). How are we measuring resilience following childhood maltreatment? Is the research adequate and consistent? What is the impact on research, practice, and policy? Trauma, Violence & Abuse, 11(1), 27–41. https://doi.org/10.1177/1524838009358892.
Windle, G. (2011). What is resilience? A review and concept analysis. Reviews in Clinical Gerontology, 21(2), 152-169. https://doi.org/10.1086/214325.
Windle, G., & Bennett, K. M. (2011). Caring relationships: how to promote resilience in challenging times. In The social ecology of resilience, (pp. 219-231). New York: Springer.
Wittstein, I. S., Thiemann, D. R., Lima, J. A., Baughman, K. L., Schulman, S. P., Gerstenblith, G., ... & Champion, H. C. (2005). Neurohumoral features of myocardial stunning due to sudden emotional stress. The New England Journal of Medicine, 35(2), 539-548. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa043046.
Zahl-Olsen, R. (2022). Prospective marriage and divorce data on Norwegian cohorts of two-sex marriages from 1886 until 2018. Data in Brief, 42, 108083. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dib.2022.108083.
Zulkarnain, A., & Korenman, S. (2019). Divorce and health in middle and older ages. Rev Econ Household, 17(4), 1081–1106 https://doi.org/10.1007/s11150-018-9435-z.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 Christina Lambros, Candan Ertubey
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of the first publication with work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgment of the work's authorship and initial publication in this in this journal.