The impact of adult significant others on children of divorce
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Little is known about the role of adult significant others in facilitating children's adjustment to divorce. This study was undertaken to examine this important issue.;The research hypotheses were: (1) Children with a supportive relationship with their father and children with a supportive relationship with another adult will adjust better to divorce than children with neither kind of relationship. (2) Children without a supportive relationship with their father, but with such a relationship with another adult, will adjust as well to divorce as children with a supportive relationship with their father. (3) There will be no difference between the adjustment of children for whom the other adult they maintain a supportive relationship is a male and those for whom it is a female.;Three indicators of adjustment were examined: self-esteem, academic performance, and cooperative school behavior.;Hypothesis 1 was partially upheld. While the group that maintained a warm and supportive relationship with their father did manifest better adjustment than the other two groups, the group that had a supportive relationship with another adult did not achieve significantly higher scores on any of the outcomes than the group with no adult relationship.;Hypothesis 2 was partially upheld. While there were no significant differences between the adjustment of children with a supportive relationship with the father and those with such a relationship with another adult on academic performance and cooperative behavior at school, the former had higher self-esteem.;Hypothesis 3 was upheld. No significant differences on any of the outcomes were found between those children who maintained a supportive relationship with a male adult and those maintaining such a relationship with a female adult.;While all hypotheses were not fully substantiated, an examination of the trends in the data indicate that while children maintaining a supportive relationship with another adult do not adjust as well as those maintaining such a relationship with their father, they adjust better than those children who do not have a supportive relationship with either their father or another adult.