Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Advicet to divorcees: Go easy on yourself

22.09.2011
Divorce is tough, for just about everyone. But some people move through a breakup without overwhelming distress, even if they're sad or worried about money, while others get stuck in the bad feelings and can't seem to climb out. What accounts for the difference?

Self-compassion, says an upcoming study in Psychological Science, a journal published by the Association for Psychological Science. Self-compassion—a combination of kindness toward oneself, recognition of common humanity, and the ability to let painful emotions pass—"can promote resilience and positive outcomes in the face of divorce," says psychologist David A. Sbarra, who conducted the study with University of Arizona colleagues Hillary L. Smith and Matthias R. Mehl. Independent of other personality traits, that one capacity predicts better adjustment shortly after divorce and up to nine months later.

The findings have implications for helping people learn to weather breakups in better health and better spirits.

"We're not interested in the basic statement, 'People who are coping better today do better nine months from now.' That doesn't help anybody," says Sbarra. "The surprising part here is that when we look at a bunch of positive characteristics"—such as self-esteem, resistance to depression, optimism, or ease with relationships—"this one characteristic—self-compassion— uniquely predicts good outcomes."

The study involved 105 people, 38 men and 67 women, whose mean age was about 40; they'd been married over 13 years and divorced an average of three to four months. On the first visit, participants were asked to think about their former partner for 30 seconds, then talk for four minutes about their feelings and thoughts related to the separation.

Four trained coders listened to the audio files and rated the participants' levels of self-compassion, using a standard measure of the construct. The participants also were assessed for other psychological traits, such as depression and their "relationship style." At the initial visit, three months later, and then after either six or nine months participants reported on their adjustment to the divorce, including the frequency with which they experienced intrusive thoughts and emotions about the separation and their ex-partner.

As expected, the people with high levels of self-compassion at the start both recovered faster and were doing better after a period of months.

How can these data help people going through divorce? Sbarra's friends, knowing what he studies, often ask for such advice.

"It's not easy to say, 'Be less anxious.' You can't change your personality so easily. We also know that women do better than men. But you can't change your sex. What you can change is your stance with respect to your experience." Understanding your loss as part of bigger human experience helps assuage feelings of isolation, he says. Mindfulness—noting jealousy or anger without judgment or rumination—lets you turn your mind to life in the present without getting stuck in the past.

Can all this be taught? The researchers are unsure but optimistic. Says Sbarra: "This study opens a window for how we can potentially cultivate self-compassion among recently separated adults" and help smooth the journey through one of life's most difficult experiences.

For more information about this study, please contact: David A. Sbarra at sbarra@email.arizona.edu.

The APS journal Psychological Science is the highest ranked empirical journal in psychology. For a copy of the article "When Leaving Your Ex, Love Yourself: Observational Ratings of Self-compassion Predict the Course of Emotional Recovery Following Marital Separation" and access to other Psychological Science research findings, please contact Lucy Hyde at 202-293-9300 or lhyde@psychologicalscience.org.

Lucy Hyde | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psychologicalscience.org

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>