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Social support, coping, and anxiety in the context of parental divorce and other stressors Record, Rosalynn M. 2014

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 	  SOCIAL SUPPORT, COPING, AND ANXIETY IN THE CONTEXT OF PARENTAL DIVORCE AND OTHER STRESSORS by  Rosalynn M. Record B.A., University of British Columbia, 2008  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF  THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  MASTER OF ARTS in The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (Counselling Psychology) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) April 2014 © Rosalynn M. Record, 2014      ii Abstract The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of social support perception on anxiety and coping in adolescents who have experienced parental divorce compared to adolescents who have not experienced parental divorce and across gender.  Surveys were administered to 125 grade 10-12 students from urban high schools. Coping was measured using a revised Coping Scale for Sport (Haney, 2003), anxiety was measured using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (Spielberger, 1983), and social support was measured using the Social Support Questionnaire - Short Form (Sarason, Sarason, Shearin, & Pierce, 1987). Findings indicated a significant main effect for social support number and family status (non-divorce, divorce), indicating that the non-divorce group has a higher mean average number of social supports than the divorce group.  A significant main effect was also found for social support number and gender, indicating that females have a higher mean average number of social supports than males. Furthermore, the relationship between engagement coping and social support satisfaction approached significance and a significant relationship was found for the female group, indicating that the greater the perceived quality of social support, the greater the use of engagement coping.  Ad-Hoc analyses found significant differences for disengagement coping across gender; significant relationships between disengagement coping and anxiety; and a significant relationship between the qualitative coping scale theme “Illness of a Family Member or Pet” and disengagement coping. Findings are discussed in light of current literature.  	      iii Preface 	  This thesis is an original intellectual product of the author, R. Record. The present study was approved by the UBC Behavioural Research Ethics Board and covered by UBC BREB Number H13-00880.      iv Table of Contents Abstract ........................................................................................................................................... ii	  Preface ............................................................................................................................................ iii	  Table of Contents ........................................................................................................................... iv	  List of Tables ................................................................................................................................ vii	  Acknowledgements ...................................................................................................................... viii	  Chapter I: Introduction .................................................................................................................... 1	  Chapter II: Literature Review ......................................................................................................... 4	  Social Support ............................................................................................................................. 9	  The Experience of Parental Divorce in Adolescents Children .................................................. 11	  Anxiety and Parental Divorce ................................................................................................... 15	  Coping and Parental Divorce .................................................................................................... 15	  Social Support and Coping with Divorce .................................................................................. 18	  The Measurement of Coping and Social Support ..................................................................... 20	  The Existing Literature and the Present Study .......................................................................... 22	  Research Question ........................................................................................................................ 24	  Hypotheses .................................................................................................................................... 24	  Chapter III: Methodology ............................................................................................................. 26	  Introduction ............................................................................................................................... 26	  Design ........................................................................................................................................ 26	  Limitations ................................................................................................................................ 26	  Procedure ................................................................................................................................... 27	  Measures .................................................................................................................................... 28	      v Analysis ..................................................................................................................................... 31	  Ethical and Diversity Considerations ........................................................................................ 32	  Chapter IV: Results ....................................................................................................................... 33	  Demographics ............................................................................................................................ 33	  Group Comparison Analyses .................................................................................................... 33	  Correlational Analyses .............................................................................................................. 35	  Ad-Hoc Analyses ...................................................................................................................... 36	  Qualitative Data ......................................................................................................................... 36	  Chapter V: Discussion .................................................................................................................. 38	  Group Comparison – Family Status .......................................................................................... 38	  Group Comparison – Gender .................................................................................................... 40	  Correlational Analyses .............................................................................................................. 41	  Limitations of Study and Suggestions for Improvement .......................................................... 43	  Implications for Counselling ..................................................................................................... 43	  Implications for Future Research .............................................................................................. 44	  Summary of Findings and Conclusion ...................................................................................... 45	  Table 1 .......................................................................................................................................... 47	  Table 3 .......................................................................................................................................... 48	  Table 4 .......................................................................................................................................... 49	  Table 6 .......................................................................................................................................... 50	  Table 7 .......................................................................................................................................... 51	  Table 8 .......................................................................................................................................... 52	  Table 9 .......................................................................................................................................... 53	      vi Table 10 ........................................................................................................................................ 54	  Table 11 ........................................................................................................................................ 55	  Table 12 ........................................................................................................................................ 56	  Table 13 ........................................................................................................................................ 57	  Table 14 ........................................................................................................................................ 58	  References ..................................................................................................................................... 59	  Appendix A ................................................................................................................................... 63	  Appendix B ................................................................................................................................... 64	  Appendix C ................................................................................................................................... 66	  Appendix D ................................................................................................................................... 68	  Appendix E ................................................................................................................................... 69	  Appendix F .................................................................................................................................... 72	  Appendix G ................................................................................................................................... 73	       vii List of Tables Table 1: Demographics for Overall Sample and by Gender..........................................................47 Table 2: Means and Standard Deviations for Family Status and Dependent Variables................48 Table 3: MANOVA Summaries for Family Status by Dependent Variables................................ 34 Table 4: Means and Standard Deviations for Family Status and Social Support Availability......49 Table 5: MANOVA Summaries for Gender by Dependent Variables..........................................35 Table 6: Means and Standard Deviations for Gender and Dependent Variables..........................50 Table 7: Correlations Between Coping, Anxiety and Social Support for Overall Sample............51 Table 8: Correlations Between Coping, Anxiety and Social Support for Females.......................52 Table 9: Correlations Between Coping, Anxiety and Social Support for Males...........................53 Table 10: Correlations Between Coping, Anxiety and Social Support for Divorce Group...........54 Table 11: Correlations Between Coping, Anxiety and Social Support for Non-Divorce Group..55 Table 12: Correlations Between Illness of a Family Member or Pet Theme and Coping.............56 Table 13: Correlations Between Family Stress Theme and Coping..............................................57 Table 14: Correlations Between Family Conflict Theme and Coping..........................................58 	      viii Acknowledgements I wish to offer my acknowledgement and appreciation to the faculty, staff and my fellow students in the UBC Counselling Psychology Program.   I offer my sincerest gratitude to Dr. Colleen Haney. The invaluable guidance, wisdom and mentorship she has offered throughout each and every stage of my journey in the Master of Arts program has fostered and truly inspired my growth and development as both a researcher and a counsellor.   I thank Dr. Richard Young for sharing his thought-provoking and engaging inquiries regarding the present study from proposal through to completion.  A thank you to Dr. Bill Borgen for his important insight and input into the proposal and development of the present study.  Thank you to Tavinder Ark for offering her vast statistical knowledge and support throughout the analysis stage of the present study.  Thank you to the Faculty of Education for offering financial support through the Faculty of Education Graduate Research Grant.  Special thanks are owed to my parents and family for their constant love and support, and to Peter Lemon, for bolstering my aspirations to pursue graduate studies and for his love, support and encouragement throughout the years 	      1 Chapter I: Introduction Divorce is an increasingly common experience for Canadian couples and families. According to Statistics Canada (2004), 37.9% of Canadian marriages will end in divorce before their 30th wedding anniversary and 41.3% will end in divorce prior to their 50th wedding anniversary.  The statistics also indicate that a significant number of Canadian divorces involve couples with dependent children (Statistics Canada, 2004). What can be concluded from these basic statistics is that a substantial number of Canadian families will be impacted by divorce, thus, it is important to understand how divorce impacts the family members involved, particularly how they cope with and adjust to these changes.  The present research focuses on the impact of parental divorce on adolescent children, specifically, the impacts of the family status change that occurs with parental divorce on social support perception, coping, and anxiety. Adolescents have been selected as the population of interest for the present study as research has indicated that parental divorce impacts adolescent children in a variety of unique ways and that the impact of major life stressors in adolescents may be quite distinctive from young children and adults (Amato, 2000; Lazarus, 1966). Parental divorce may lead to a number of negative effects in adolescents including lowered self-esteem, relationship difficulties, substance abuse, decreased school performance, inappropriate sexual behaviour, depression, and delinquent behaviour (Cohen & The Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, 2002). On the other hand, parental divorce may also have a positive impact on the adolescent children, such as eradicating high-conflict family home environments, which may subsequently increase social support through the repairing of family relationships (Amato, 2010). Regardless of whether the divorce ultimately has a negative or positive impact, it may still be a significant life stressor for the adolescent, particularly as divorce often involves a transitional     2 process that may last a significant length of time and involve multiple intrapersonal and interpersonal issues (Farber, Felner, & Primavera, 1985). Frydenberg and Lewis (1996) also note that the manner in which adolescents cope with life stressors, such as parental divorce, has the potential to affect their social-emotional development and establishes coping patterns that may persist throughout their adult lives. What can be inferred from the results of these studies, is the importance of striving to establish what characterizes successful coping with major life stressors such as parental divorce and to determine the role that social support perception plays in facilitating successful coping. A substantial number of research studies concerning parental divorce seem to have been devoted to exploring the effects and outcomes that parental divorce may have on the mental health and well-being of adolescents in both the short-term and in the long-term (i.e.: Amato & Anthony, 2014; McKenry & Price, 1994; Størksen, Røysamb, Holmen, & Tambs, 2006).  The current literature regarding parental divorce seems to heavily focus on negative impacts of parental divorce, although a select few do exist that touch on the positive impacts, particularly in high conflict family situations (i.e.: Amato, 2010; Amato, 2000). There is a moderate body of research that examines resiliency factors in adolescents experiencing parental divorce such as coping and adjustment (i.e.: Farber et al., 1985). However, the research seems to be limited in that little attention is paid to what particular factors, such as social support, define effective coping with parental divorce.  Even fewer studies exist that specifically examine the relationship between social support, anxiety and coping in adolescents experiencing parental divorce, however, the research that does exist, indicates that social support does have a significant relationship with coping and anxiety, thus providing rationale to further expand the body of     3 research specifically investigating this relationship (Cowen, Pedro-Carroll & Alpert-Gillis, 1990; Wethington & Kessler, 1986).  The purpose of the present research was to examine the relationship between social support perception, anxiety and coping in adolescents to examine for differences among those who have experienced divorce and those who have not experienced parental divorce as well as to examine for differences across gender. The central research question of interest was: how does perceived quantity, perceived quality and perceived availability of social support impact anxiety and coping with parental divorce in the adolescent population? The stress and coping theories of Lazarus and Folkman (1984) provided the theoretical framework for this research as well as current and seminal research that examined the relationship between social support perception, coping and anxiety in adolescents faced with general life stressors and parental divorce specifically.  The overall intent of this research was to expand and extend the current literature concerning divorce by examining these changes in light of how social support perception impacts anxiety and coping in adolescent children and to gain insight concerning the support conditions that contribute to anxiety and coping. Investigating what defines successful and adaptive coping population is significant, as it provides insight into how mental health practitioners can best support adolescents who have experienced parental divorce.       4 Chapter II: Literature Review The following review explores the literature and research pertaining to the research question of interest for this study – how does perceived quantity, perceived quality and perceived availability of social support impact anxiety and coping with parental divorce in the adolescent population?  To establish a foundation for the current study, it was essential to first detail the theoretical framework on which this study was based.  Thus, the first section of this review will focus on the seminal theory of stress and coping of Lazarus (1966) and Lazarus and Folkman (1984). The second section will build upon the coping theory discussion by exploring social support, a specific variable that has been noted by Lazarus and Folkman (1984) to be a major contributor to the coping process.  Specific types of social support will be explored along with the significance of subjective perception of social support and gender differences in social support seeking. The third section of the literature review will shift focus to exploring literature that conceptualizes and explores the impact of parental divorce on adolescent children, providing insight into both the potential negative effects of parental divorce and the potential positive effects. Literature that explores the relationship between anxiety and parental divorce will also be examined. The final sections of the literature will narrow the focus to literature that specifically explores coping, anxiety and social support for adolescents in the context of divorce. Lastly, theory and existing literature will be assimilated and connected to how the present research question was formulated. Stress and Coping Theory Lazarus and Folkman’s (1984) transactional model of stress and coping is a widely utilized, process-based coping theory. Rather than conceptualizing coping as a static personality trait or style as seen in many early theories of coping, this theory conceptualizes coping as a     5 dynamic process that changes over time and is unique to each situation and stressor one encounters (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). Lazarus and Folkman describe stressors as being the relationship between the person and environment that is appraised by the person to be exhausting or exceeding their resources and/or compromising their well-being. According to this theory there are two major processes that mediate stressors and the impacts that they have in both the short and long-term: cognitive appraisal and coping (Folkman, Lazarus, Gruen, & DeLongis, 1986).  Cognitive appraisal is the process by which an individual evaluates an encounter with the environment to be significant to their well-being and if so, how it could potentially impact them (Folkman, Lazarus, Dunkel-Schetter, et al., 1986).  There are two types of cognitive appraisal: primary appraisal and secondary appraisal.  Primary appraisal is the process of an individual evaluating if they have anything at stake in an encounter with the environment (Folkman, Lazarus, Dunkel-Schetter, et al., 1986). These stakes can be positive or negative and internal (to the self) or external (to others or to the environment) (Folkman, Lazarus, Dunkel-Schetter, et al., 1986).  Folkman, Lazarus, Dunkel-Schetter et al. state that secondary appraisal is the process by which an individual evaluates whether there is anything that can be done to overcome/prevent the harm or increase benefit of the outcome of the encounter with the stressor.  The authors further note that considering various coping strategies is often a major component of secondary appraisal.  Ultimately, the authors explain that the processes of primary and secondary appraisals amalgamate to determine whether the stressor or person-environment transaction should be considered significant to the individual’s well-being, and if so, whether it presents them with a potential threat of harm or loss or with a challenge that provides the possibility of mastery or benefit.     6 The second process involved in mediating stressful person-environment relationships is coping. (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). Lazarus and Folkman define coping as the dynamic process of trying to manage external and internal stressors that overload or exceed one’s internal and/or external resources.   Folkman, Lazarus, Dunkel-Schetter et al. (1986) explain that there are three essential characteristics of this definition of coping.  The first characteristic is that it is process-oriented, in that it is focused on the dynamic process of what an individual thinks and does in response to a specific stressor.  The second characteristic of coping is that it is contextual; that is, the person, the situation, and how the individual appraises that relationship between these two factors determine coping. Both the person and the environment are essential to the coping process, in that coping is considered to be interdependent within the context and circumstances that surround the stressor (Folkman, Lazarus, Dunkel-Schetter, et al., 1986). The final important characteristic of Lazarus and Folkman’s (1984) definition of coping is that it makes no assumptions regarding whether particular coping responses are good or bad or that one coping strategy should be deemed better than another.  Coping is examined in light of the efforts made to manage stressors, rather than how successful any particular outcome of coping may be (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984).  In Lazarus and Folkman’s cognitive theory of stress and coping (1984), two types or functions of coping are outlined: problem-focused coping and emotion-focused coping.  Problem-focused coping is an attempt to improve, shift or alter a person-environment relationship that may be taxing or distressing (Folkman, Lazarus, Dunkel-Schetter, Gruen, & DeLongis, 1986; Monat & Lazarus, 1991). Problem-focused coping includes both outward-directed coping strategies such as cost-benefit analysis and conflict resolution, and inward-directed behavioural strategies such as goal management and learning new skills (Lazarus &     7 Folkman, 1984). Emotion-focused coping includes cognitive and behavioural strategies that are utilized to minimize the personal impact of a stressor or to regulate negative emotions associated with a problem (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984).). This typically does not involve any efforts to alter the stressful person-environment relationship; rather the aim of this form of coping is to provide a sense of relief or distraction from the stressor (Monat & Lazarus, 1991). This may include coping strategies such as a cognitive reappraisal, selective attention, minimization, and avoidance (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984).).  A 1980 study by Folkman and Lazarus (1980) found that problem-focused coping is most often utilized in situations that are changeable and that emotion-focused coping is most often utilized in situations that are unchangeable.  Lazarus and Folkman (1984) further explain that emotion-focused coping is most beneficial in circumstances where problem-focused coping would be inappropriate, such as with chronic illness as it helps an individual to maintain hope and optimism in stressful situations. However, they also contend that emotion-focused coping could also be detrimental in some situations as it could lead to self-deception or reality distortion.   Ultimately, the coping process almost always involves employing a complex combination of both problem-focused and emotion-focused coping strategies as opposed to utilizing a particular strategy in isolation (Folkman and Lazarus, 1980; Monat & Lazarus, 1991).  Monat and Lazarus further explain that selection of coping methods in response to a particular stressor is highly dependent on the conditions being faced, the options and resources available, and one’s personality.  Research has shown that gender may also have an impact on how stressors are perceived and on the type of coping strategy that is primarily utilized (Cicognani, 2011). Cicognani (2011) states that female adolescents may have a tendency to perceive typical life stressors, particularly     8 relationship stressors, as more stressful than male adolescents.  The author note the findings of the study indicate that female adolescents report differing use of particular coping strategies when faced with minor life stressors than males. Furthermore, the author explains that these findings are consistent with previous research that has shown that female adolescents tend to use more emotion-focused coping strategies such as support-seeking, wishful thinking and withdrawal and males tend to use more problem-focused coping strategies such as physical recreation, relaxation and denial.  A 2005 study by Hampel and Petermann also found gender differences with regards to coping strategies. The authors found that females were higher in what were defined as “maladaptive” coping strategies including “rumination”, “resignation” and “aggression” than males.  However, the authors also found that females were higher in “support seeking”, which was defined in the study as a problem-focused coping strategy.   Tobin, Holroyd, Reynolds and Wigal (1989) proposed a revised organization of coping strategies from Lazarus and Folkaman’s (1984) conceptualization that categorizes coping into problem-focused and emotion-focused categories to a hierarchical conceptualization of coping.  The authors categorize coping into two general categories: engagement and disengagement coping. Both categories break coping down into problem and emotion sub-categories and then into specific strategies under these sub-categories.  The authors explain that engagement coping includes active efforts to control, manage or change the stressful situation (problem engagement) and active efforts to manage emotional responses to the stressor (emotion engagement). Engagement coping strategies include problem solving, cognitive restructuring, seeking social support and expressing emotion.  Disengagement coping, on the other hand, involves efforts to either avoid confronting the stressful situation (problem disengagement) or avoid the stressful emotions associated with the stressor (emotion disengagement).  Disengagement coping     9 strategies include problem-avoidance, wishful thinking, social withdrawal and self-criticism. As Tobin et al.’s (1989) conceptualization of engagement and disengagement coping seems to capture the complex interplay between problem-focused and emotion-focused coping strategies across stressful situations, it seems highly suitable for the present study. Thus, engagement and disengagement coping will be utilized to categorize and conceptualize coping for the present study.  Social Support  Lazarus and Folkman (1984) note that social support can have a profound impact on coping and that recognizing and utilizing available social resources is crucial to the coping process.  Furthermore, Tobin et al. (1989) describe seeking social support as an important engagement coping strategy that can assist in emotion management and promote emotional expression. Social supports are the social assets, social resources and social networks that an individual can turn to when they require advice, information, help, assistance, approval, protection and emotional support (Cicognani, 2011; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). For the majority of children, parents are considered to be the most important and/or preferred source of social support, however, outside supports such as peer, community, and professional services are also significant contributors to their overall social support (Halpenny, Greene, and Hogan 2008; Cicognani, 2011).  Additionally, a 2008 study by Halpenny et al. found that professional support resources that integrated peer support were particularly effective for adolescents as they provided adolescents the opportunity to turn to trusted individuals or a group of peers outside of their immediate family situation.   For one’s social support to have an impact on coping, it is not only essential that supports exist, but also that the individual views these supports to be to be readily available personal     10 resources (Faber et al., 1985). Lazarus and Folkman (1984) note that the act of simply being able to recognize and utilize the social supports that one perceives as being available to them is essential to overall well-being.  Research by Cowen et al. (1990) further supports this notion through findings indicating that being able to seek support from social networks, including friends, immediate family members, relatives, and community members, is associated with enhanced adjustment to major life stressors and higher levels of physical and mental health.  A recent study by Cicognani (2011) also notes that perceived family support and perceived peer support when faced with minor life stressors is associated with a higher use of support-seeking coping strategies and is associated with a lower reported use of dysfunctional coping strategies. Finally, research has also shown that perceived social support, particularly how readily available an individual believes their supports are, is a greater predictor of well-being than the actual social support received (Wethington & Kessler, 1986). Gender may also impact the nature, perception and use of one’s social support network (Belle, 1987). Research by Hampel and Petermann (2005) found that girls scored significantly higher on use of social support seeking as a coping strategy than males.  Belle (1987) notes that across the lifespan, males may have a tendency to participate in more activity-focused relationships and females may have a tendency to engage in more emotionally intimate relationships.  Thus, the author explains that females more frequently seek out social support when faced with stressful situations and are more likely to perceive the support received as positive.  Furthermore, Belle also notes that females often seek a greater quantity and variety of formal and informal social support than males do.     11 The Experience of Parental Divorce in Adolescents Children The Divorce Process. From a legal perspective, divorce could be viewed as a singular event; however, McKenry and Price (1994) argue that psychologically, divorce should be conceptualized as a process that occurs throughout the life course rather than a discrete event. The divorce process or “uncoupling” begins while the couple is married, continues while they separate and divorce, and the effects often continue long after the legal divorce occurs (Amato, 2000; Wallerstein 1991). Furthermore, as divorce involves life changes and restructuring for all family members involved, it can also be viewed as a transition (Street, 1994). Street defines a transition as a high stress period of movement that occurs when an individual or family moves from one phase of life to another.  Thus, it was noted divorce may involve multiple transitions for adolescents including: socioeconomic transitions as a result of the separation of family assets and incomes; physical transitions to different living locations and arrangements; emotional transitions as the adolescent moves through the often grief-like process of experiencing their parents separating; and interpersonal transitions as relationships with one or both parents, siblings and other important individuals may change as a result of the divorce process and any remarriages that follow (Street, 1994; Wallerstein 1991).  Short-Term and Long-Term Effects. A significant body of research has been established that explores both short and long-term impacts of parental divorce on adolescents and the findings of these studies seem to be highly variable.  It is a common belief that divorce brings on severe and long-term stress and adjustment problems for all family members (McKenry & Price, 1994).  Wallerstein (1980) states that parental divorce brings on severe stress for the children involved and believes that the parental separation and the immediate aftermath can often be the most stressful experience of a child or adolescent’s life. A 2000 literature review by     12 Amato indicates that in general, adults and children from divorced families do tend to score lower on measures of well-being than intact families. A longitudinal study by Wallerstein (1980) also indicates that parental divorce impacts adolescent children in both the short and long term.  Short-term impacts noted in this study included acute stress and anxiety, particularly concerning their future entry into adulthood and future relationships and marriages; acting-out; distancing from parents; and questioning of parent’s integrity and morality.  These effects were found to mostly dissipate within the first year after separation.  Longer-term impacts noted by Wallerstein include developmental interference and increased psychological vulnerability.   A study by Ahrons, 2007 explored the impacts of parental divorce on adult children whose families were involved in the Binuclear Family Study, a longitudinal study following the impact of divorce on 98 pairs of divorced parents, 20 years following the disruption of the parents’ marriage. This mixed-methods study found that parental divorce indeed had long-term impacts on the quality of relationships between the children and members of the family system.  However, Ahrons reports that the quality of the relationships seemed to be largely dependant on the degree of cooperation that occurred between parents over the years, which was noted to be on a continuum from being highly amicable to being completely estranged. Adult children who reported their parents to be higher in cooperativeness reported an overall higher quality of relationships within their family system.  On the contrary, adult children who reported their parents to be lower in cooperation reported a greater degree of distress continuing into adulthood, particularly when trying to navigate between the two relationships throughout important life events (Ahrons, 2007).  A longitudinal study by Størksen, Røysamb, Moum, and Tambs (2005) and a cross-sectional study by Størksen, Røysamb, Holmen, and Tambs (2006) similarly found that in     13 comparison to adolescents from intact families, adolescents from divorced families had higher reported instances of anxiety and depression symptoms, a lower feeling of well-being, and more school-related problems. These studies also examined length of time from parental divorce, and the results of both studies indicated that the effects of divorce can persist long after the divorce and that children who have experienced divorce have a greater vulnerability to negative developmental impacts compared to adolescents from intact families. Furthermore, Størksen et al. (2006) found that these trends occur regardless of factors such as parental distress, family structure and demographic factors.  Other research, however, indicates that the impact of divorce is highly variable; some children experience substantial long-term effects, whereas for other children, the impacts of divorce are typically moderate, short-term or even negligible (Amato & Anthony, 2014; McKenry & Price, 1994; Størksen et al., 2005).  Portnoy (2006) also notes that the adjustment period immediately following separation and divorce is often the most acutely challenging for individuals and families and that the effects start to wane in the long-term.  A 2014 study by Amato and Anthony examining the effects of parental divorce using child fixed effects models found a high degree of variability in the impacts of parental divorce for involved children.  The authors found that some children experience a decline in well-being, while others improve, but for the majority of children, little to no change occurs at all. Furthermore, Amato (2010) contends that divorce may be beneficial for children living in dysfunctional, harmful home environments as separating the parents may eradicate high-conflict living situations.  Family Conflict. A considerable number of research studies in the area of divorce have focused on the interaction of family conflict with the impacts of divorce.  Although family conflict is not a variable of interest for the present study, it is important to review the literature in     14 this area and understand the potential interactions that family conflict may have on social support perception and coping. Research has shown that the nature of conflict in the family before, during and after divorce can have multiple consequences for adolescents (Michael, Torres, & Seemann, 2007).  A literature review by Amato (2000) concludes that conflict between former spouses is frequently identified as the most stressful part of the divorce process for children and parents alike.  A 2007 study by Michael et al. comparing the individuals from high versus low conflict family situations found that individuals with high conflict families had a high instance of sleep disturbances, lower self-concepts and less adaptive coping strategies than individuals from low conflict situations.  Furthermore, the authors also found that individuals from high conflict situations tended to use more passive and avoidant coping strategies rather than active, problem-solving strategies.  Finally, Ahrons (2007) found that the impacts of parental conflict, particularly continued parental conflict, can be long-lasting as it was found that adult children who indicated higher levels of conflict between parents reported lower quality of relationships and greater long-term distress 20 years following parental divorce.  In his 2010 review of divorce research, Amato (2010) explains that the effects of divorce on children after the divorce are highly dependent on the degree of conflict in the family prior to the divorce.  Amato (2000) notes that children who have aversive, high conflict family environments before the divorce often remain stable or show improvements in overall well-being after divorce, whereas children who had supportive, low conflict family environments before the divorce may actually show declines in well-being. Furthermore, when the family environment is high in conflict prior to the divorce, divorce can actually be beneficial as it removes children from dysfunctional, harmful home environments (Amato, 2010).  On the contrary, Amato also explains that when the family environment is low in conflict prior to the divorce, it may actually     15 be disruptive as it removes the child from what may have previously been a stable and supportive environment. Furthermore, regardless of what changes occur in the family, ultimately, finding a sense of stability in the home environment is what is most essential for the well-being of children involved (Amato, 2010).  Anxiety and Parental Divorce Research has indicated that there may be a relationship between experiencing parental divorce and anxiety in adolescents.  Studies by Størksen et al. (2005) and Størksen et al. (2006) found that adolescents from divorced families reported higher levels of anxiety than adolescents from intact families.  The authors found that the effects not only occurred in short-term during and following the parental divorce but also that these effects were pervasive over time. For example, Størksen et al. (2006) found that even 8 years following parental divorce, adolescents from divorced families still experienced more symptoms of anxiety than adolescents from intact families. Finally, the authors of both studies also found that girls reported stronger and more enduring symptoms of anxiety and depression associated with parental divorce than boys.   Particular coping strategies may also be related to anxiety levels associated with parental divorce. Farber et al. (1985) found that self-blaming, self-criticizing and social support-seeking in response to parental divorce resulted in higher levels of reported anxiety.  On the contrary, a study by Cowen et al. (1990) found that children with higher perceived social support had lower levels of anxiety in relation to parental divorce.   Coping and Parental Divorce Although many generalizations can be drawn from existing research on what effects divorce could potentially have on adolescents, how the adolescents cope with the effects of divorce can be considered more distinctive and seems to be largely dependent on the coping     16 resources that the adolescent has available to him or her.  Street (1994) notes that the resources that one has available to cope with the stressors that arise during the process of parental divorce have a significant impact on one’s subsequent adjustment to the divorce. Amato (2000) notes that the severity and duration of the negative outcomes of parental divorce is highly dependent on the protective factors, coping resources and social supports available in their lives. Lazarus and Folkman, (1984) state that recognizing and utilizing available social resources is essential to well-being and they detail that multiple resources are required to adapt to stress including: material resources such as income and housing; physical resources such as health and energy; psychological resources such as values, positive beliefs and previous experience; problem solving and social skills, and social, practical and emotional support within the family and the larger community. They note that factors that inhibit an individual from utilizing their coping resources include personal constraints such as internalized cultural values and beliefs, fear of failure or problems with authority figures; environmental constraints such as lack of money or access to community resources; and the level of threat that the stressors are appraised to pose to one’s well-being (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). The use of particular coping strategies has also been shown to contribute to overall coping and adjustment to parental divorce.  A 1985 study by Farber et al. also found that the coping style of the adolescent was related to their overall adjustment to the parental divorce.  The authors found that adolescents who engaged in a process of self-blame and self-criticism in response to the divorce had higher levels of adjustment difficulties, anxiety, depression and hostility; those who tried to deny or make light of the situation had greater levels of anxiety; that those who displaced their feelings onto others had higher levels of hostility; and that social support seeking was often associated with higher levels of anxiety.       17 Multiple interpersonal factors contribute to how an adolescent copes with divorce, particularly communication between the adolescent and their parents. Halpenny et al’s (2008) exploration of narratives obtained directly from children and adolescents found that adjustment to separation was most successful for adolescents who were given adequate information about the separation from their parents without being drawn into any conflicts they may have, who were content with their post-separation living arrangements and who had adequate involvement of their non-custodial parent. Afifi, Huber and Ohs (2006) note that the interpersonal communication between parents and children following separation and divorce is another factor crucial to adolescent children’s coping and adaptation to the divorce.  In their 2006 study, they found that children with noted effective, regular communication with their custodial parent and who felt they could speak openly with them about divorce-related stressors had a greater ability to cope positively with parental divorce.  The authors note that the ability to engage in in-depth, composed conversations with their parent about their stressors may have a profound impact on the child’s coping and resilience with regards to the divorce. Furthermore, achieving the comfort level required to have conversations concerning divorce-related stressors may be highly dependent on the nature of the parent-child relationship (Afifi et al., 2006). A further study on divorce-related communication indicated that inappropriate divorce-related disclosures in parent-child communication, particularly those that are deemed as being inappropriate from the adolescent’s perspective, may impact the well-being of adolescent children (Afifi, McManus, Hutchinson and Baker, 2007). The authors note that inappropriate divorce disclosures may include those that are negative, inappropriate or too sensitive to be shared with their children. Demographic variables have also been shown to have an impact on coping with parental divorce. Research has shown that individuals whose parents divorced at a younger age and/or     18 reported that a significant amount of time passed since the divorce were found to have less anxiety than adolescents who were older or had experienced the divorce recently (Farber et al., 1985). In terms of gender, it has been found that college-age females reported higher instances of anxiety and depression than males following parental divorce experienced in adolescence (Farber et al., 1985).  Furthermore, studies by Størksen et al. (2005) and Størksen et al. (2006) also confirms that adolescent girls report stronger and more long-lasting symptoms of anxiety and depression associated with parental divorce than adolescent boys do. Størksen et al. (2005) further detail that a very large number of girls who have been through parental divorce experience daily symptoms of anxiety and depression. However, Størksen et al. (2006) do question whether gender differences in anxiety and depression symptomology could be attributed to a characteristic vulnerability associated with developmental stage rather than being solely a situation-specific in response to parental divorce.  Social Support and Coping with Divorce Individuals in one’s social network can be a significant source of social support when faced with stressful situations, however, in some circumstances significant others may also be a source of stress (Wethington & Kessler, 1991).   This can be particularly evident for adolescents faced with parental divorce.  As previously mentioned, parents are often considered the most important social support resource for adolescents; however, life stressors such as divorce can also originate from the parents and result in a disruption or shift in one’s perception of their social support network (Halpenny et al., 2008; Cicognani, 2011). Thus, in order to mediate the impacts of any disruptions to one or both of the parent’s availability as a social support, it is often essential that other social supports are accessible as resources in addition to the parent(s) (Cowen, Pedro-Carroll, & Alpert-Gillis 1990).  The authors further explain that being able to     19 seek support from outside social networks, such as friends, immediate family members, relatives, and community members, is associated with enhanced adjustment to divorce and higher levels of physical and mental health. Furthermore, for those in the adolescent age range, formal support services can also be of substantial benefit as they allow the opportunity to speak about and reflect on feelings and experiences about the separation with peers and professionals in a trustworthy environment outside of their immediate family situation (Halpenny et al., 2008).  A 1985 study by Farber et al. examined the demographic, personal and situational factors that mediated adjustment to the transitions involved with parental divorce and separation, with social support being one of the factors examined.  This study involved 34 males and 34 females between the ages of 17 and 23 who experienced parental divorce or separation after their 12th birthday. They found that the adolescents who most frequently sought out social support to deal with the transitions were more anxious than those who did not. Specifically, they found that seeking instrumental support was associated with higher levels of state anxiety and seeking formal supports was associated with higher levels of trait anxiety. In terms of the family specifically, the authors also found that the more one sought support from family members, the higher their levels of trait and state anxiety were.  On the other hand, adolescents who perceived their family members to be more helpful were less anxious overall than those who did not.  The authors note that this implies that the quality of social support may be more significant than the quantity of social support received for adolescents adjusting to the transitions of parental divorce and separation.  These assumptions are consistent with the theories of Lazarus and Folkman, which state that perceived social support is a significant contributor to well-being (1984). However, Farber et al. (1985) also indicate that further research is necessary that specifically     20 examines the relationship between social support quality and coping/adjustment with parental divorce.  A further study by Cowen et al. (1990) examined the relationship between perceived social support and adjustment in children in grades 4 to 6 who had experienced parental divorce.  This study examined the subjective perception of the children on multiple sources of support and assessed the child’s adjustment using various measures and sources including the child, their parents, and their teacher. The sample included 59 boys and 43 girls from Rochester New York, with 32% of the sample having experienced parental divorce. They found that children who perceived themselves as having more overall support had lower instances of post-divorce difficulties, anxiety, and worry; had greater understanding of the fact that the divorce could not be altered; were more open to talking about the divorce; and had more positive coping resources. However, although the findings did indicate a significant relationship between support and adjustment, the authors also noted that these relationships were not statistically strong enough to establish causality between the two variables. Furthermore, the research is limited in the fact that the sample only examines 4th and 6th grade students and that only 32% of the sample had experienced parental divorce. Further research would be required to examine whether the relationship between support and adjustment is extendable to the adolescent age range and if the effects would be significant if a larger sample was utilized.  The Measurement of Coping and Social Support In order to measure coping as conceptualized in their transactional model of stress and coping (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984); Lazarus and Folkman developed a measure called the Ways of Coping Checklist (WCC) (Lazarus & Folkman, 1980).  The WCC is comprised of items that detail various cognitive and behavioural strategies a person might utilize when faced with     21 specific stressful situations (Folkman et al., 1986). These items are organized into two categories: problem-focused coping strategies and emotion-focused coping (Lazarus & Folkman, 1980).  The Ways of Coping Checklist has been utilized in many studies regarding coping, however, these studies have often been aimed at the adult population (i.e.: Folkman et al., 1986; LeSergent & Haney, 2004); the WCC has also been adapted into new measures, for example Haney (2003) utilized the WCC as the foundation for the Coping Checklist for Sport and Tobin et al. (1989), used the WCC to help format the Coping Strategies Inventory. Other coping measures that have been utilized in adolescent coping research and divorce research including the Coping Resources Inventory (Moos, 1993 cited in Michael et al., 2007), the Coping Resources Repertoire (Farber et al., 1985), Billings and Folkman’s (2000) Positive Coping Inventory (PoCI) (cited in Affi et al., 2010) and the Coping Across Situations Questionnaire (Seiffge-Krenke, 1995 cited in Cicognani, 2011). Various quantitative measures have been utilized to gauge social support in relation to coping and in the context of parental divorce.  Cicognani (2011) utilized the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (Zimet Dahlen, Zimet, & Farley, 1988) to examine the relationship between social support and coping with minor stressors in adolescents.  Farber et al. (1985) implemented the Survey of Social Support to examine social support as a mediating factor in adaption to parental divorce/parental separation. Qualitative measures have also been utilized in assessing social support perception.  Halpenny et al., (2008) utilized semi-structured interviews to gain an in-depth look at the perceptions of formal and informal social supports for children who had experienced parental separation.       22 The Existing Literature and the Present Study Upon critically examining the existing coping and parental divorce literature, two main themes emerged. The first theme, which was evident in both general coping literature and specific literature pertaining to adolescent coping, is that social support is a significant factor that contributes to coping (Cicognani, 2011; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984; Lazarus, 1966). As indicated through Wethington and Kessler’s (1986) study, the perception of the quality and availability of one’s social support is often more important than the actual support received when faced with life stressors. The research of Farber et al. (1985) and Cowen et al. (1990) also demonstrates that social support perception can have a profound impact on coping with the specific life stressor of parental divorce, however, these studies produced markedly different information in terms of the relationship that social support has with coping and anxiety.  In Farber et al.’s (1985) study, social support seeking was actually associated with higher levels of anxiety, except in the instance of perceived family helpfulness. Cowen et al.’s 1990 study on the other hand, found that social support seeking and perceived social support was consistently associated with greater adjustment to parental divorce and lower levels of anxiety.  Few other studies exist in the area of divorce literature that explore this phenomenon further, thus providing a rationale for extending and enhancing the body of literature in this area to further confirm and exploring the relationship between social support perception, anxiety and coping with parental divorce.  The second theme that emerged from examining parental divorce research in this literature review is that parental divorce seems to be uniquely experienced by adolescent children (Lazarus, 1966; Cohen & the Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, 2002; Farber, et al., 1985; Wallerstein, 1980).  Thus, it became evident that it is important to examine this population separately from young children and adult children.       23 The two major themes that were found in the literature merged into a curiosity around what the relationship is between perceived social support and the coping and anxiety levels in adolescents in terms of family status and gender and whether an adolescent’s perception of the their social support is crucial to whether or not social support significantly contributes to their coping. Thus, the central research question for the present study was: how does perceived quantity, perceived quality and perceived availability of social support impact anxiety and coping with parental divorce in the adolescent population?        24 Research Question The purpose of the present research was to explore the impact of social support perception on anxiety and coping in adolescents who have experienced parental divorce and adolescents who have not experienced parental divorce, as well as to compare the impacts across gender.  The central research question was: how does perceived quantity, perceived quality and perceived availability of social support impact anxiety and coping with parental divorce in the adolescent population? The independent variables of interest for present study were family status (divorce and non-divorce) and gender (males versus females). The dependent variables for the present research were coping, which includes engagement and disengagement coping; anxiety, measured through levels of state-anxiety; and social support perception; measured through social support quality, quantity and availability.  Hypotheses Hypothesis 1: Adolescents who have experienced parental divorce will report lower use of engagement coping behaviours than adolescents who have not experienced parental divorce. Hypothesis 2: Adolescents who have experienced parental divorce will report higher anxiety than adolescents who have not experienced parental divorce. Hypothesis 3:  Adolescents who have experienced parental divorce will report lower social support quantity than adolescents who have not experienced parental divorce.  Hypothesis 4: Adolescents who have experienced parental divorce will report lower social support quality than adolescents who have not experienced parental divorce. Hypothesis 5: Adolescents who have experienced parental divorce will report lower social support availability than adolescents who have not experienced parental divorce. Hypothesis 6: Males will report lower levels of perceived social support than females.     25 Hypothesis 7: Perceived social support will be positively correlated with engagement coping. Hypothesis 8: Perceived social support will be negatively correlated with anxiety.       26 Chapter III: Methodology Introduction The present research investigated the relationship between social support perception, anxiety and coping in adolescents who have experienced parental divorce and across gender. The coping behaviours, anxiety and social support perception of adolescents who had experienced parental divorce were compared to adolescents who had not experienced parental divorce and were compared between males and females. The overall goal was to determine whether there are differences in reported coping, anxiety and social support perception with among adolescents who have experienced parental versus adolescents who have not experienced parental divorce.  We also expected to find gender differences in relation to coping.    Design A total of 125 survey packages were administered to high school students and 105 students completed the survey package, 20 survey packages were left blank.  Survey packages included a revised version of the Coping Scale for Sport (CSS; Haney, 2003), the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory S-Anxiety Scale (STAI; Spielberger, 1983) and Social Support Questionnaire – Short Form (SSQSR; Sarason, et al., 1987), and a demographic questionnaire.  Quantitative research design was selected for the present study as it allowed for the possibility to explore whether family status and gender account for any significant differences between groups in coping, anxiety and social support perception and to determine whether statistically significant relationships exist between the variables of coping, anxiety and social support perception.  Limitations Context and person-factors that may be influencing an individual’s response may not be captured in a closed-ended question in the same manner as with an open-ended question or other     27 qualitative inquiries.  The revised Coping Scale for Sport (CSS) does attempt to account for this limitation by including an open-ended question regarding to a specific family stressor that occurred in the last six months.  The purpose of this question is to provide the participants with context in which to base their coping responses on for the CSS and to allow the researcher to get a sense of what the family stressors are for the participants.  Procedure Recruitment of Participants. The population of interest for this survey was adolescents aged 15 and older. The adolescents were recruited from classrooms in urban high schools. Prior to the commencement of recruiting, an application was submitted to the superintendent of the School District regarding conducting the research.  Upon approval of the application to conduct research, a letter of interest was sent out by the superintendent to the principals of all high schools within the district. Furthermore, a Recruitment Letter was also delivered in person by the researcher to approved high schools (See Appendix A).  The Recruitment Letter was followed up by a phone call from the researcher requesting to meet with the principal of interested schools to discuss the study details and procedures.  Principals of interested schools then provided the contact information of teachers who were interested in having their classes participate in the research.   Informed Consent. The teachers in participating classrooms were provided with Parent/Guardian Informed Consent forms for the parent(s)/guardian(s) of potential participating students to distribute to their classes prior to the survey sessions.  Parent/Guardian Informed Consent forms were required to be signed by the students’ parent(s) or guardian(s) and to be collected back by the teacher for the students to participate in the study.  Any students for which Parent/Guardian Informed Consent forms were not been returned or whose parent(s)/guardian(s)     28 did not consented to participation, were not eligible to participate in the study. In addition to the Parent/Guardian Informed Consent form completion, it was explained to the participants at the beginning of the survey research session that participation is voluntary and that they have the right to end their participation at any time. Survey Sessions. The research sessions began with an oral informed assent script delivered by the researcher (see Appendix G). The participants were then asked to complete the survey questionnaires and return them to the researcher.  Survey questionnaires included a demographic information form, the revised CSS, the STAI S-Anxiety scale and the SSQSR. Survey sessions were held in separate classrooms between September and November 2013.  Data. For the duration of the study, survey questionnaires were stored in hard copy form in a locked filing cabinet.  The data from each survey was entered onto a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet once the data-collecting period was complete. IBM SPSS software and Microsoft Excel spreadsheets were then utilized to carry out statistical analyses.  Surveys with over 10% of data missing were deemed unusable for data analyses.  In the case of the Coping Scale and SSQSR, surveys with less than 10% of data missing were completed using the Mean Substitution Score for each item. For the STAI S-Anxiety Scale, surveys with 3 or fewer items missing were completed as per the instructions in the scoring manual, by calculating the mean weighted scores of items completed and then multiplying this value by 20 (Spielberger, 1983). Measures The measures utilized for the present study were a revised version of the Coping Scale for Sport (CSS; Haney, 2003), the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory S-Anxiety Scale (STAI; Spielberger, 1983) and Social Support Questionnaire – Short Form (SSQSR; Sarason, et al.,     29 1987).  All questionnaires are considered to be well-established measures that have been examined for reliability and validity evidence (Haney, 2003; Spielberger, 1983; Sarason, Levine, Basham & Sarason, 1983).  Demographics Questionnaire.  A one-page demographics questionnaire was constructed to gather basic information on school, age, grade, and gender. Family status information included current living situation, whether or not parental divorce or legal separation had been experienced, and if so, how many years ago the divorce/legal separation occurred.  Coping Measure. Coping was measured using a revised version of Haney’s (2003) Coping Scale for Sport (CSS). The CSS is a multidimensional scale that measures use of engagement and disengagement coping strategies when faced with a stressful situation. It is based on the Ways of Coping Checklist (Lazarus & Folkman, 1980) and its theoretical foundation integrates the stress and coping theories of Lazarus and Folkman (1984) and the coping conceptualizations of Tobin et al. (1989). The CSS’ 20-item scale measures various dimensions of both engagement and disengagement coping on a scale of 0 - 3 based on how much each coping strategy was utilized.  Six additional items were added to expand the scale to a more general adolescent audience. Two items were from the original Ways of Coping Checklist (Lazarus & Folkman, 1980): “I got professional help” and “I slept more than usual”. Four of the items added are new items: “I used drugs or alcohol”, “I smoked cigarettes”, “I engaged in exercise”, and “I used my computer, tablet or phone to distract myself”. Finally, a qualitative open-question was added to the beginning of the scale which was “write about a family issue that has recently affected you in the last six months”. The CSS is a paper-and-pen measure that can be completed in approximately 10 minutes and is hand-scored. The CSS produces two distinct scores – Engagement Coping Score and Disengagement Coping Score.      30 The CSS has moderate internal consistency reliability; Cronbach’s alpha for engagement coping =.81 and disengagement coping = .73 (Haney, 2003).  Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) examined for factorial validity. Furthermore, the CSS is based on the Ways of Coping Checklist, which has been examined for internal consistency reliability and factor structure (Lazarus & Folkman, 1980; Cousson-Gélie, Cosnefroy, Christophe, Segrestan-Crouzet, Merckaert, Fournier, Libert, Lafaye, & Razavi, 2010). Anxiety Measure. Anxiety levels were assessed using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI; Spielberger, 1983).  The STAI is a self-report scale that measures state and trait anxiety.  For the present study, only the state anxiety or S-Anxiety scale, STAI Form Y-1 was utilized.  Spielberger describes state anxiety as the acute anxiety reaction that occurs during a stressful situation and is characterized by its frequency and intensity. State anxiety is strongly correlated with trait anxiety, which are relatively stable individual differences in anxiety-proneness (Spielberger).  The S-Anxiety scale is a 20-item scale that provides information regarding how a participant feels right at the moment during the research session, rated on a scale of 1 - 4 (Spielberger).  The STAI S-Anxiety scale is hand-scored and produces a single anxiety score.  The STAI S-Anxiety scale has been examined for test-retest and internal consistency reliability (Spielberger, 1983).  Test-retest reliability is relatively low for the S-Anxiety scale (r=.16 to .62), which Spielberger explains reflects the fact that state anxiety can be uniquely experienced each time the questionnaire is administrated (Spielberger). Internal consistency reliability, however, is high, with alpha coefficients above .90. In terms of validity, the STAI has been examined for concurrent validity, convergent validity, divergent validity and construct validity (Spielberger).     31 Social Support Measure. Social support was measured with the Social Support Questionnaire  - Short Form (SSQSR; Sarason, et al., 1987), which measures perceptions and satisfaction of social support, including quantity and quality of social support. The SSQSR is a multidimensional measure based on the Social Support Questionnaire (SSQ, Sarason et al., 1983) of social support that examines the number and types of social supports available in one’s support network in varying stressful situations as well as one’s overall satisfaction with the perceived support received.  The SSQSR is a 6-item paper and pen measure that is scored by hand (Sarason, et al., 1987). Each item on the SSQSR has two parts and provides two scores: the average number of people in the participant’s support network (0-9 individuals) and overall satisfaction with available support (rated on a scale of 1 to 6).  Sarason et al. (1987) detail that the SSQR produces two distinct scores: A Social Support Number Score (SSQN) and a Social Support Satisfaction Score (SSQS).   The internal consistency reliability of the SSQSR is α=.97-.98 for SSQN and α=.96-.97 for SSQS (Sarason, et al., 1987). Analysis The demographic questionnaire was analyzed for descriptive statistics for gender, age, grade, country of birth, current living situation and family status. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA’s) were used to compare family status (divorce/non-divorce) and gender (males/females) between subject factors on coping, anxiety and perceived social support.  These analyses were carried out by comparing scores between groups on the revised CSS, the STAI S-Anxiety Scale, and the SSQSR to see if there were any differences among groups.  Correlational analyses were utilized to compare and examine the relationships among perceived social support, anxiety, and coping for the total sample and among groups (gender and family status). Pearson's     32 product-moment correlational analyses were used to explain relationships among the study variables and demographic categories (gender, divorce and non-divorce). Ethical and Diversity Considerations One ethical issue concerning the present study was ensuring the psychological and emotional safety of the participants. All participants were informed of the purpose and the anonymous nature of the research.  If any personal issues came up for the participants through participation, they were advised to visit their school counsellors. Furthermore, it was explained to participants that they were free to withdraw from the study at any point.  The impact of ethnicity was also a potential ethical and diversity issue and was taken into consideration throughout the data collection and analyses. Ethnicity implications are reflected upon in the discussion section of the research report (see Discussion – Implications for Future Research). 	        33 Chapter IV: Results Demographics One hundred and twenty-five urban high school students were recruited to participate in completing the survey. Twenty surveys were left blank; surveys with over 10% of data missing were deemed unusable for data analyses.  The final sample consisted of 105 high school students.  Of the 105 participants, 48% identified as male, 51% identified as female and 2% did not identify their gender (see Table 1 for demographic details regarding grade, age and culture). In terms of family status, 66% reported that they had not experienced parental divorce or legal separation, 23% reported they had experienced parental divorce or legal separation, and 15% did not identify family status.  Of the participants who identified that they had experienced parental divorce or legal separation, timing of divorce or legal separation ranged from 0 years ago to 15 years ago, with the mean being 7 years ago.  In terms of current living situation, 63% of participants reported that they currently live with two parents, 10% currently live with one parent, 11% currently live with a legal guardian, and 14% did not report whom they currently live with. Group Comparison Analyses Hypothesis 1. Hypothesis 1 stated that adolescents who had experienced parental divorce would report lower use of engagement coping behaviours. No significant differences were found.  Means for engagement coping were M=24.00, SD=8.70 for the divorce group and M=21.17, SD=7.47 for the non-divorce group. Hypothesis 2.  Hypothesis 2 stated that adolescents who had experienced parental divorce would report higher anxiety. No significant differences were found.  Means for anxiety     34 scores were M=45.00, SD=12.15 for the divorce group and M=45.47, SD=11.70 for the non-divorce group. Hypothesis 3, 4 & 5.  Hypothesis 3, 4, and 5 stated that adolescents who had experienced parental divorce would report lower social support quantity, quality and availability than adolescents who have not experienced parental divorce. One-way MANOVAS indicated a significant main effect of separation on social support number F(1, 74)=6.776, p=0.011, 𝜂2=0.084 (see Table 2 below).  This suggests that individuals in the divorce group (M=2.13, SD=0.96) had a lower mean number of support individuals than those participants who are in the non-divorce group (M=3.08, SD=1.48). No significant differences were found for social support quality (see Table 3) or social support availability between divorce and non-divorce (see Table 4).  Table 2  MANOVA Summaries for Family Status by Dependent Variables Dependent Variables F Sig. Coping Engagement  1.887 .174 Coping Disengagement  1.942 .168 Anxiety .023 .880 Social Support Satisfaction .001 .978 Social Support Number 6.776* .011 Note:n= 57 (Non-Divorce), n=19 (Divorce) *p<.05  Hypothesis 6.  Hypothesis 6 stated that males would report lower levels of perceived social support than females.  One-way MANOVA’s indicated a significant main effect of gender on social support number F(1, 84)=7.538, p=0.05, 𝜂2=0.046 (see Table 5 below).  Means were M=2.46, SD=1.18 for males and M=3.07, SD=1.52 for females, indicating that females may have a greater number of supports than males.  Significant differences were also found for gender and     35 anxiety (see Ad-Hoc Analyses section for further information).  No significant differences were seen among males and females for social support number or social support satisfaction (see Table 6).  Table 5  MANOVA Summaries for Gender by Dependent Variables Dependent Variables F Sig. Coping Engagement  .282 .597 Coping Disengagement  1.839 .179 Anxiety 11.140** .001 Social Support Satisfaction .034 .855 Social Support Number 3.941* .050 Note: n= 37 (Males), n=47 (Females) *p<.05, **p<.001 Correlational Analyses  Hypothesis 7.  Hypothesis 7 stated that perceived social support (social support number and social support satisfaction scores) would be positively correlated with engagement coping (i.e.: problem solving, cognitive restructuring, expressing emotion (Tobin et al., 1989).  A non-significant positive relationship was found between social support satisfaction and engagement coping for the overall sample r=.210, p=<.055 (See Table 7), possibly indicting that engagement coping is positively related with social support quality.  No significant relationship was found between social support number and engagement coping for the overall group.  Different patterns were seen for males and females with regards to correlations between perceived social support and engagement coping scores.  For females, a significant positive relationship was found between social support satisfaction and engagement coping,  r=.293, p=<.046 (see Table 8); possibility indicating that the more engagement coping found, the more satisfaction with social supports.  For males, no significant relationships were found between social support social support satisfaction and engagement coping (see Table 9).      36 Hypothesis 8. Hypothesis 8 stated that perceived social support would be negatively correlated with anxiety. No significant relationships were found in the correlational matrices between social support and anxiety.   Ad-Hoc Analyses Gender and Anxiety.  Ad-Hoc one-way MANOVA’s were carried out to examine for differences between anxiety scores between males and females (gender). A significant main effect was found between gender and anxiety F(1, 82)=11.140, p=0.001, 𝜂2=0.120. Females had significantly higher mean anxiety scores (M=48.98, SD=11.64) than males (M=40.92, SD=10.01).  This may indicate that females have significantly more state-anxiety than males.   Disengagement Coping and Anxiety.  Ad-Hoc correlational analyses were carried out to examine the relationships between disengagement coping scores (i.e.: problem-avoidance, wishful thinking, social withdrawal, self-criticism (Tobin et al., 1989) and state-anxiety rating scores.  A significant positive correlation was found between disengagement coping and anxiety for the overall sample r=.278, p=<.007 (see Table 4); for the non-divorce group r=.358, p=<.005; for males r=.370, p=<.015; and for females r=.363, p=<.01.  This data indicates that greater anxiety may result in a greater use of disengagement coping. Qualitative Data The revised Coping Scale for Sport (CSS) contained a qualitative component in the form of an open-ended question at the beginning of the questionnaire, which asked the participants to “describe a family issue that has affected you in the last six months”.  A response to the open-ended in the CSS was completed by 66 of the participants. Three major themes emerged through review of the responses provided by participants: Family Stress (including financial stress, work-related stress, school-related stress, moving homes, immigration, and divorce/separation), Family     37 Conflict (including parent-parent, parent-child, sibling-sibling), and Illness of a Family Member or Pet (including physical illness, mental health issues, and death). Inter-rater reliability was conducted to confirm the themes and 98% reliability was established.  Correlational analyses were carried out to determine if there was a relationship between the three CSS themes and CSS scores (engagement coping and disengagement coping).  A significant negative relationship was found between the theme Illness of a Family Member or Pet and disengagement coping, r=-.288, p=<.005, indicating that experiencing an illness in a family member is associated with less use of disengagement coping (see Table 12).       38 Chapter V: Discussion The present research investigated the relationship between social support perception, anxiety and coping in adolescents who have experienced parental divorce and across gender. The coping, anxiety and social support perception of adolescents who had experienced parental divorce were compared to that of adolescents who had not experienced parental divorce and compared between males and females. Results indicated significant differences in social support quantity between family status groups (divorce/non-divorce). No significance was found between participants who had experienced parental divorce and participants who had not experienced parental divorce with regards to engagement coping, disengagement coping, anxiety, social support quality and social support availability. With regards to gender, significant differences were also found between social support quantity between males and females. A significant relationship was indicated between engagement coping and social support perception for females. Ad-Hoc analyses found significant gender differences for disengagement coping; significant relationships between disengagement coping and anxiety; and a significant relationship between the open-ended question theme of “Illness of a Family Member or Pet” for the revised Coping Scale for Sport (CSS) and CSS coping scores. The results of the present study are discussed below and detailed in light of the hypotheses and existing literature regarding parental divorce and coping. Group Comparison – Family Status The first five hypotheses in the present study compared the differences in family status of adolescents; comparing participants who had experienced parental divorce and participants who had not experienced parental divorce with regards to use of engagement coping, disengagement coping, anxiety, social support quantity, social support quality and social support availability.      39 Significant differences were found between family status groups and social support number scores (quantity).   The third hypothesis explored impact of family status on social support quantity and it was expected that fewer supports would be indicated in the divorce group; significant differences were found. Results indicated that adolescents who had not experienced parental divorce might have a higher number of social supports than adolescents who have experienced parental divorce. These findings are consistent with previous research that notes that life stressors such as divorce can result in a disruption or shift in one’s perception of their social support network (Halpenny et al., 2008; Cicognani, 2011). With regards to no significant differences being found in the present study between engagement coping, disengagement coping, anxiety, and social support quality and availability between the divorce group and the non-divorce group, two possible explanations were considered. Possible explanations include: that the current experience of parental divorce for adolescents does not result in a significant difference from adolescents who have not experienced parental divorce, and/or that the sample size for the present study was not sufficient to produce significant results.   The present hypotheses were based on previous studies that indicated that divorce has a significant impact on the well-being of adolescents (ie: McKenry & Price, 1994; Størksen et al., 2006; Wallerstein, 1980).  However, many of these studies were carried out in earlier decades, and thus, may not reflect the current experience of adolescents in terms of the impact of parental divorce.  Therefore, the absence of significant differences found in the present study may indicate that at the time of survey (2013), experiencing parental divorce does not have impacts     40 on adolescents that significantly differentiate them from their peers who have not experienced parental divorce.  Another possible explanation for the lack of differences between the family status and engagement coping, disengagement coping, anxiety, and social support quality and availability in the group comparison analyses is the size of the sample itself.  The sample size for family status group comparison across the dependent variables (coping, anxiety, and social support) was 76 participants, including 19 participants in the divorce group and 57 participants in the non-divorce group.  Therefore, the sample size may have been too small and the groups too imbalanced to produce any significant results in the analyses.  Specifically, a sample size of 19 participants may not have been sufficient enough in size to represent the divorce group and hold up to comparisons with the much larger non-divorce. A larger sample size and/or a sample size with a greater balance between family status groups may have allowed more accurate and significant comparison across family status and the dependent variables. Group Comparison – Gender Hypothesis six stated that males would report lower levels of perceived social support (social support number and social support satisfaction) than females. Significant differences were found between gender and social support number scores (quantity).  Consistent with previous literature (Belle, 1987), differences were found between males and females in the quantity of social supports in their support network; specifically, females reported a greater number of social supports than males. These results support literature by Belle (1987), which notes that females may have a tendency to seek out a greater quantity of social supports than males. Furthermore, this also confirms previous literature that indicates that female adolescents have a greater     41 tendency to use social support-seeking as a coping strategy than males (Cicognani, 2011; Hampel & Petermann, 2005). Furthermore, Ad-Hoc one-way MANOVAs indicated significant differences for state-anxiety scores between males and females. These results may be similar to findings by Størksen et al. (2006) that demonstrate that adolescent girls report stronger and more long-lasting symptoms of anxiety and depression associated with life stressors, such as parental divorce, than adolescent boys do. Correlational Analyses Correlational analyses examined for relationships between coping, anxiety and social support for the overall sample and across groups (family status and gender).  A significant relationship was found for social support satisfaction and engagement coping for females and a non-significant relationship was found for social support satisfaction and engagement coping for the overall group.  For the overall group, a non-significant positive relationship was found between social support satisfaction and engagement coping for the overall sample; this data may indicate that the more satisfied participants were with social supports, the more engagement coping they used.   These findings are consistent with previous literature which has indicated that social support is indeed a significant factor that contributes to coping both with general life stressors (Cicognani, 2011; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984; Lazarus, 1966; Wethington & Kessler, 1986) and in response to parental divorce (Cowen et al., 1990; Farber et al., 1985). Furthermore, previous research has found that gender differences exist in the type of coping strategies commonly utilized and in frequency of use, which is consistent with the current findings that note differences in use of engagement coping (Cicognani, 2011; Hampel & Petermann, 2005).       42 The relationship between perceived social support satisfaction and engagement coping scores for females was significant in the present study, potentially indicating that the more satisfied female participants were with social supports, the more engagement coping they used These results are consistent with literature which suggests that females engage in more social support seeking behaviours than males (Belle, 1987; Hampel & Petermann, 2005). Furthermore, Belle (1987) notes that females are more likely than males to perceive the social support they receive as being positive.  Ad-Hoc correlational analyses were carried out to examine for relationships between disengagement coping and anxiety.  A significant positive correlation was found between disengagement coping and anxiety for the overall sample. These results may indicate that the greater the anxiety a participant reports, the more disengagement coping utilized.  A possible explanation for these results is that efforts to avoid or withdraw (disengage) from the uncomfortable emotions (Tobin et al., 1989), such as anxiety, increase as levels of state anxiety increase.  Furthermore, Ad-Hoc analyses of the relationship between CSS open-ended question themes and engagement and disengagement scores suggest that there may be a relationship between the family issue at hand and the type of coping utilized.  Specifically, a significant negative relationship was found between the theme Illness of a Family Member or Pet and disengagement coping, indicating that facing the illness in a family member may be associated with decreased use of disengagement coping.  These results indicate that it may be valuable to consider the type of stress an adolescent is dealing with when considering their coping scores and the type of coping most utilized. This idea is consistent with Folkman et al.’s (1986) and Lazarus and Folkman’s (1984) conceptualization of coping, defining it is being process-oriented     43 and contextual; that is, based on a dynamic process of appraising and reacting to the specific stressor or situation at hand. Limitations of Study and Suggestions for Improvement One limitation of the present study was the sample size, particularly in the groups investigated with regards to family status.  Only 21.9% of the sample reported to have experienced parental divorce or legal separation, which may have not been a large enough sample size to produce any significant results from the analyses.  Another limitation of the study is generalizability.  Participants in the present study were not randomly selected and only represent a small population of the urban setting in which the research was conducted.  In order to be generalizable to the general population, a higher sample size and random sampling would have been required.  Implications for Counselling The present study has many implications for counselling practice particularly in how therapeutic work is approached with adolescents who have experienced parental divorce. The present study found little difference among adolescents who had experienced divorce and adolescents who had not experienced parental divorce in light of the differences in and relationships between the variables of coping, anxiety and social support.  These findings indicate counsellors should refrain approaching work with youth differently depending on their family status.  For many counsellors, this may require a shift in perspective from presuming that, based on early divorce literature, experiencing parental divorce is inherently detrimental to the development and well-being of adolescent children, to considering that parental divorce may not be fundamentally associated with presenting concerns and mental health issues.  This is not to say that parental divorce has had no impact on adolescent children, rather it emphasizes the     44 importance of assessing for the underlying stressors (or lack thereof) and circumstances that accompany changes in family status rather than automatically assuming that family status change is the issue itself. Furthermore, because divorce was not indicated as a major stand-alone theme for recent family issues in the CSS qualitative question in the present study (which asked participants to talk about any recent family issue of their choice), it should not be assumed that when an adolescent has experienced parental divorce, that it would be automatically be a primary topic of concern that a client would bring into therapy.  Implications for Future Research The implications of the present research for future quantitative research in the area of divorce include an investigation of an expanded sample, the inclusion of ethnicity variables, and a greater emphasis on the connections between anxiety and coping.  An expanded sample, particularly with larger sample size and more even distribution among groups, would allow for greater insight into the variables of interest and external validity. The inclusion of ethnicity as a variable of interest, including both country of birth and self-identified ethnicity(s), would also add an important dimension to the investigation.  This is particularly pertinent to research being conducted with adolescents in a location with a culturally diverse population.  Furthermore, as Ad-Hoc analyses indicated significant relationships between state anxiety and disengagement coping, it would be worthwhile investigating these as primary variables in future research.  Finally, as the present study indicated little difference between divorce and non-divorce groups, it would be worthwhile conducting research aimed at exploring the protective factors that help ameliorate the impacts of parental divorce and other family stressors rather than focusing on the inherent differences between groups who have experienced changes in family status.      45 Summary of Findings and Conclusion The present study investigated the impacts and relationships between coping, anxiety, and social support with respect to having experienced parental divorce and not having experienced parental divorce, and with regards to gender.  A significant difference was found for social support quantity among family status (divorce/non-divorce) groups and a significant difference was found for social support quantity among males and females. Results of correlational analyses indicated a significant relationship between engagement coping and social support satisfaction for females and a non-significant positive relationship between engagement coping and social support satisfaction for the overall group. Furthermore, Ad-Hoc analyses indicated that there were significant gender differences for disengagement coping scores and significant relationships between disengagement coping and anxiety for the overall sample, the non-divorce group and across gender. Finally, correlational analyses indicated a significant negative relationship between disengagement coping scores and the CSS open-ended question theme “Illness of a Family Member or Pet”.  What can be concluded from the present study is that few differences exist between adolescents who have experienced parental divorce and adolescents who have not experienced parental divorce in terms of coping, anxiety, and social support; with the exception of social support number.  Thus, for future research it may be important to focus on similarities and protective factors between family status groups, rather than differences. Gender differences, however, are important to consider based on the results of this study, particularly with regards to the number of social supports in gender groups and the relationships between social support satisfaction and engagement coping.  Furthermore, significant relationships found between     46 disengagement coping and state-anxiety in ad-hoc analyses suggest that this an important area of investigation for future research in the area of coping.      47 Table 1 Table 1 Demographics for Overall Sample and by Gender  Overall   (n=105)  Males   (n=50)  Females   (n=53) Demographic Variables N %  N %  N % Age         14 1 1.0  0 0.0  1 1.9 15 24 22.9  7 14.0  17 32.1 16 55 52.4  34 68.0  21 39.6 17 9 8.6  2 4.0  7 12.2 18 1 1.0  1 2.0  0 0.0 Unidentified 15 14.3  6 12.0  7 13.2 Grade         10 11 10.5  0 0.0  11 20.8 11 71 67.6  41 82.0  30 56.6 12 12 11.4  5 10.0  7 13.2 Unidentified 11 10.5  4 8.0  5 9.4 Country         North America 53 50.5  24 48.0  29 54.7 Asia 31 29.5  14 28.0  17 32.1 Other 2 2.0  1 2.0  1 1.9 Unidentified 19 18.1  11 22.0  6 11.3 Divorce/Legal Separation         No Divorce/Legal Separation 66 62.9  28 56.0  38 71.7 Divorce/Legal Separation 23 21.9  14 18.0  9 17.0 Unidentified 16 15.2  8 16.0  6 11.3 Years Since Divorce/Legal Separation         0 - 5 years 6 26.1  3 21.4  3 33.3 6 - 10 years 10 43.5  8 57.1  2 22.2 11-15 years 6 26.1  2 14.3  4 44.4 Unidentified  1 4.3  1 7.1  0 0 Current Living Situation         Two parents 66 62.9  28 56.0  38 71.7 One Parent 10 9.5  6 12.0  4 7.5 Legal Guardian 12 11.4  7 14.0  5 9.4 Unidentified 15 14.3  8 16.0  6 11.3      48  Table 3 Table 3 Means and Standard Deviations for Family Status and Dependent Variables     Family Status Dependent Variables Overall (n=76)  Non-Divorce (n=57) Divorce (n=19) Coping      Engagement  21.87 (7.83)  21.17 (7.47) 24.00 (8.70) Disengagement  13.93 (5.75)  13.40 (5.87) 15.51 (5.17)      Anxiety 45.36 (11.73)  45.47 (11.70) 45.00 (12.15)      Social Support     Number 2.84 (1.42)  3.08 (1.48) 2.13 (0.96) Satisfaction 4.18 (0.65)  4.18 (0.67) 4.18 (0.57)     49 Table 4 Table 4 Means and Standard Deviations for Family and Status Social Support Availability      Family Status Dependent Variables Overall (n =83)  Non-Divorce (n =63) Divorce (n =20) Social Support Availability     Number  (Question #1) 4.68 (2.49)  4.83 (2.39) 4.20 (2.80) Satisfaction (Question #2) 4.99 (0.91)  5.02 (0.85) 4.90 (1.07)      50 Table 6 Table 6 Means and Standard Deviations for Gender and Dependent Variables     Gender Dependent Variables Overall (n =84)  Male (n =50) Female (n =53) Coping      Engagement  22.10 (7.64)  22.60 (7.79) 21.70 (7.58) Disengagement  14.10 (5.63)  15.04 (5.58) 13.36 (5.63)      Anxiety 25.43 (11.64)  40.92 (10.09) 48.98 (11.64)      Social Support     Number 2.80 (1.41)  246 (1.18) 3.01 (1.52) Satisfaction 4.19 (0.63)  4.17 (0.66) 4.20 (0.61)     51 Table 7 Table 7 Correlations Between Coping, Anxiety and Social Support for the Overall Sample  Dependent Variables Engagement Coping (n = 92) Disengagement Coping (n = 92) Anxiety (n = 92) Social Support Number (n = 91) Social Support Satisfaction (n = 92) Engagement Coping 1 .594** .057 .013 .210 Disengagement Coping  1 .278** -.142 .028 Anxiety   1 -.078 -.154 Social Support Number    1 .309** Social Support Satisfaction     1 **p<.01, 2-tailed.      52 Table 8 Table 8 Correlations Between Coping, Anxiety and Social Support for Females  Dependent Variables Engagement Coping (n = 49) Disengagement Coping (n = 49) Anxiety (n = 53) Social Support Number (n = 51) Social Support Satisfaction (n = 51) Engagement Coping 1 .614** .212 -.032 .293* Disengagement Coping  1 .363* -.085 .152 Anxiety   1 -.142 -.156 Social Support Number    11 .411** Social Support Satisfaction     1 *p<.05, 2-tailed. **p<.01, 2-tailed.     53 Table 9 Table 9 Correlations Between Coping, Anxiety and Social Support for Males  Dependent Variables Engagement Coping (n = 43) Disengagement Coping (n = 43) Anxiety (n = 50) Social Support Number (n = 40) Social Support Satisfaction (n = 40) Engagement Coping 1 .570** -.065 .121 .119 Disengagement Coping  1 .370* -.166 -.113 Anxiety   1 -.170 -.191 Social Support Number    1 .181 Social Support Satisfaction     1 *p<.05, 2-tailed. **p<.01, 2-tailed.       54 Table 10 Table 10 Correlations Between Coping, Anxiety and Social Support for the Divorce Group  Dependent Variables Engagement Coping (n = 21) Disengagement Coping (n = 21) Anxiety (n = 23) Social Support Number (n = 20) Social Support Satisfaction (n = 20) Engagement Coping 1 .571** -.234 .113 .349 Disengagement Coping  1 .271 -.034 .169 Anxiety   1 -.348 -.153 Social Support Number    1 .265 Social Support Satisfaction     1 **p<.01, 2-tailed.      55 Table 11 Table 11 Correlations Between Coping, Anxiety and Social Support for the Non-Divorce Group  Dependent Variables Engagement Coping (n = 60) Disengagement Coping (n = 60) Anxiety (n = 66) Social Support Number (n = 63) Social Support Satisfaction (n = 63) Engagement Coping 1 .646** .125 .031 .168 Disengagement Coping  1 .358** -.102 -.004 Anxiety   1 -.045 -.168 Social Support Number    1 .367** Social Support Satisfaction     1 **p<.01, 2-tailed.  	      56 Table 12  Table 12 Correlations Between Illness of a Family Member or Pet Theme and Coping, Anxiety & Social Support *p<.05, 2-tailed; **p<.01, 2-tailed. Dependent Variables Illness (n=92) Engagement Coping (n=92) Disengagement Coping  (n=92)   Anxiety  (n=103) Social Support Number  (n=91) Social Support Satisfaction ( n=91) Illness 1 -.177 -.288** .019 .216* -.114 Engagement Coping  1 .594** .057 .013 .210 Disengagement Coping   1 .278** -.142 .028 Anxiety    1 -.078 -.154 Social Support Number     1 .309** Social Support Satisfaction      1     57 Table 13 Table 10 Correlations Between Family Stress Theme and Coping (n = 92) Dependent Variables Family Stress Engagement Coping Disengagement Coping Family Stress 1 -.053 -.007 Engagement Coping  1 .594** Disengagement Coping   1 **p<.01, 2-tailed.     58 Table 14 Table 11 Correlations Between Family Conflict Theme and Coping (n = 92) Dependent Variables Family Conflict Engagement Coping Disengagement Coping Family Conflict 1 -.035 .160 Engagement Coping  1 .594** Disengagement Coping   1 **p<.01, 2-tailed.     59 References Afifi, T. D., McManus, T., Hutchinson, S., & Baker, B. (2007). Inappropriate parental divorce disclosures, the factors that prompt them, and their impact on parents’ and adolescents’ well-being. Communication Monographs, 74(1), 78-102.  Afifi, T. D., Huber, F. N., & Ohs, J. (2006). Parents' and adolescents' communication with each other about divorce-related stressors and its impact on their ability to cope positively with the divorce. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 45(1-2), 1-30.  Ahrons, C. R. (2007). Family ties after divorce: Long-term implications for children. Family Process, 46(1), 53-65. Amato, P. R., & Anthony, C. J. (2014). Estimating the effects of parental divorce and death with fixed effects models. Journal of Marriage & Family, 76(2), 370-386. Amato, P. R. (2000). The consequences of divorce for adults and children. Journal of Marriage & Family, 62(4), 1269-1287. Amato, P. R. (2010). Research on divorce: continuing trends and new developments. Journal of Marriage & Family, 72(3), 650-666.  Cicognani, E. (2011). Coping strategies with minor stressors in adolescence: Relationships with social support, self-efficacy, and psychological well-being. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 41(3), 559-578.` Cohen, J. G. & the Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, American Academy of Pediatrics (2002). Helping children and families deal with divorce and separation. Pediatrics, 110(5),1019-1023.  Cousson -Gélie, F., Cosnefroy, O., Christophe, V., Segrestan-Crouzet, C., Merckaert, I., Fournier, E., Libert, Y., Lafaye, A., & Razavi, D. (2010). The ways of coping checklist     60 (WCC): Validation in French-speaking cancer patients. Journal of Health Psychology, 15(8), 1246-1256. Cowen, E. L., Pedro-Carroll, J. L., & Alpert-Gillis, L. J. (1990). Relationships between support and adjustment among children of divorce. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 31(5), 727-735. Farber, S. S, Felner, R. D., & Primavera, J. (1985). Parental separation/divorce and adolescents: An examination of factors mediating adaptation. American Journal of Community Psychology, 13(2), 171-185. Folkman, S. & Lazarus, R. S. (1980) An analysis of coping in a middle-aged community sample. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 21(3), 219-239. Folkman, S., Lazarus, R. S., Dunkel-Schetter, C., DeLongis, A., & Gruen, R. J. (1986). Dynamics of a stressful encounter: Cognitive appraisal, coping, and encounter outcomes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50(5), 992-1003.  Folkman, S., Lazarus, R. S., Gruen, R. J., & DeLongis, A. (1986). Appraisal, coping, health status, and psychological symptoms. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50(3), 571-579.  Frydenberg, E., & Lewis, R. (1996). A replication study of the structure of the adolescent coping scale: Multiple forms and applications of a self-report inventory in a counselling and research context. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 12(3), 224-235.  Halpenny, A. M., Greene, S., & Hogan, D. (2008). Children's perspectives on coping and support following parental separation. Child Care in Practice, 14(3), 311-325.  Hampel, P. & Petermann, F. (2005). Age and gender effects on coping in children and adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, (34)2, 78-83.     61 Haney, C. J. (2004). Revision and development of a coping checklist for sport based on test administration immediately following participation. International Journal of Testing, 4(1), 75-81. Lazarus, R. S. (1966). Psychological stress and the coping process. New York: McGraw-Hill. Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York: Springer Pub. Co. McKenry, P. C. & Price, S. J. (1994) Families and change: Coping with stressful events. Thousand Oaks, CA, USA: Sage Publications Inc. Michael, K. C., Torres, A., & Seemann, E. A. (2007). Adolescents' health habits, coping styles and self-concept are predicted by exposure to interparental conflict. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 48(1-2), 155-174.  Monat, A. & Lazarus, R.S. (1991). Stress and coping: An anthology (Third Edition). New York: Columbia University Press. Patterson, J. M., & McCubbin, H. I. (1987). Adolescent coping style and behaviors: Conceptualization and measurement. Journal of Adolescence, 10(2), 163-186. Portnoy, S. M. (2006). The psychology of divorce: A lawyer's primer.(the effects of divorce on adults, part 1). American Journal of Family Law, 20(2), 73.  Sarason, I. G., Levine, H. M., Basham, R. B., & Sarason, B. R. (1983). Assessing social support: The social support questionnaire. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44(1), 127-139.  Sarason, I. G., Sarason, B. R., Shearin, E. N., & Pierce, G. R. (1987). A brief measure of social support: Practical and theoretical implications. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 4(4), 497-510.      62 Spielberger, C. D., & Gorsuch, R. L. (1983). State-trait anxiety inventory for adults: Sampler set, manual, test, scoring key. California, USA: Mind Garden, Inc. Statistics Canada (2004).   Table 101-6511 - 30 and 50 year total divorce rates per 1,000 marriages, Canada, provinces and territories, annual (rate per 1,000 marriages).  CANSIM (database). Retrieved September 25, 2012: www.statcan.gc.ca Størksen, I., Røysamb, E., Holmen, T. L., & Tambs, K. (2006). Adolescent adjustment and well-being: Effects of parental divorce and distress. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 47(1), 75–84. Størksen, I., Røysamb, E., Moum, T., & Tambs, K. (2005). Adolescents with a childhood experience of parental divorce: a longitudinal study of mental health and adjustment. Journal of Adolescence, 28(6), 725-739. Street, E. (1994).  Counselling for Family Problems. Great Britain: Sage Publications Ltd.  Tobin, D. L., Holroyd, K. A., Reynolds, R. V., & Wigal, J. K. (1989). The hierarchical factor structure of the coping strategies inventory. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 13(4), 343-361.  Wallerstein, J.S. (1991). The long-term effects of divorce on children: A review. Journal of American Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 30(3), 2, 349-360. Wallerstein, J.S. (1980). Children and divorce.  Pediatrics in Review, 1(7), 211-217. Wethington, E., & Kessler, R. C. (1986). Perceived support, received support, and adjustment to stressful life events. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 27(1), 78–89. Wethington, E., & Kessler, R. C. (1991). Situations and processes of coping. In Eckenrode (1991). The Social Context of Coping. New York: Plenum Press     63 Appendix A Recruitment Letter 	  	  	       64 Appendix B Parent/Guardian Informed Consent Form        65 	  	       66 Appendix C  Coping Scale  INSTRUCTIONS: In the space below, write about a family issue that has affected you in the last six months.       Read each statement carefully and indicate, by circling the appropriate number, the extent to which you used it in the above situation  PLEASE RATE EACH STRATEGY (circle).   Did not apply/ or not used Used some-what Used quite a bit Used a great deal 1. 1. 2. I changed or grew as a person in a good way 0 1 2 3 3. 2. 4. I just concentrated on what I had to do next – the next step 0 1 2 3 5. 3. 6. I tried not to act too quickly 0 1 2 3 7. 4. 8. I criticized or lectured myself 0 1 2 3 9. 5. 10 I put aside other activities in order to concentrate on this 0 1 2 3 11. 6. 12 I made a promise to myself that things would be different next time 0 1 2 3 13. 7. 14 I tried to forget the whole thing 0 1 2 3 15. 8. 16 I avoided being with people in general 0 1 2 3      67 17.  18.  Did not apply/ or not used Used some-what Used quite a bit Used a great deal 19. 9. 20 I kept myself from getting distracted by other thoughts or activities 0 1 2 3 21. 10. 22. I wished that the situation would go away or somehow be over with 0 1 2 3 23. 11. 24. I stood my ground and fought for what I wanted 0 1 2 3 25. 12. 26. I drew on my past experiences; I was in a similar position before 0 1 2 3 27. 13. 28. I knew what had to be done, so I doubled my efforts to make things work 0 1 2 3 29. 14. 30. I focused on dealing with this problem, and if necessary let other things slide a little 0 1 2 3 31. 15. 32. I realized I brought on the problem on myself 0 1 2 3 33. 16. 34. I hoped a miracle would happen 0 1 2 3 35. 17. 36. I tried to keep my feelings from interfering with other things too much 0 1 2 3 37. 18 38. I tried hard to prevent other things from interfering with my efforts at dealing with this 0 1 2 3 39. 19. 40. I went over in my mind what I would do 0 1 2 3 41. 20. 4 . I refused to believe that it had happened 0 1 2 3 43. 21. 44. I got professional help (i.e.: counsellor, doctor) 0 1 2 3 45. 22. 46. I slept more than usual 0 1 2 3 47. 23. 48. I used drugs or alcohol 0 1 2 3 49. 24. 50. I smoked cigarettes 0 1 2 3 51. 25. 5 . I engaged in exercise 0 1 2 3 53. 26. 54. I used my computer, tablet or phone to distract myself  0 1 2 3      68 Appendix D  State-Trait Anxiety Inventory: Form Y-2 	       69 Appendix E  Sarason, I. G., Sarason, B. R., Shearin, E. N., & Pierce, G. R. (1987).  A brief measure of social support: Practical and theoretical implications.  Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 4, 497-510.   Social Support Questionnaire (Short Form) SSQSR INSTRUCTIONS: The following questions ask about people in your environment who provide you with help or support. Each question has two parts.  For the first part, list all the people you know, excluding yourself, whom you can count on for help or support in the manner described. Give the persons’ initials, their relationship to you (see example). Do not list more than one person next to each of the numbers beneath the question. For the second part, circle how satisfied you are with the overall support you have. If you have had no support for a question, check the words “No one”, but still rate your level of satisfaction. Do not list more than nine persons per question. Please answer all the questions as best you can. All your responses will be kept confidential. EXAMPLE: Who do you know whom you can trust with information that could get you in trouble? No One 1) T.N (brother) 4) S.D. (father) 7)  2) L.M (friend) 5) 8)  3) R.S. (teacher) 6) 9) How satisfied? 6 – very satisfied 5 – fairly satisfied 4 – a little satisfied 3 – a little dissatisfied  2 – fairly dissatisfied 1 – very dissatisfied         70 1. Whom can you really count on to be dependable when you need help? No One 1)  4) 7)  2) 5) 8)  3) 6) 9) 2. How satisfied? 6 – very satisfied 5 – fairly satisfied 4 – a little satisfied 3 – a little dissatisfied  2 – fairly dissatisfied 1 – very dissatisfied 3. Whom can you really count on to help you feel more relaxed when you are under pressure or tense? No One 1)  4) 7)  2) 5) 8)  3) 6) 9) 4. How satisfied? 6 – very satisfied 5 – fairly satisfied 4 – a little satisfied 3 – a little dissatisfied  2 – fairly dissatisfied 1 – very dissatisfied 5. Who accepts you totally, including both your worst and best points? No One 1)  4) 7)  2) 5) 8)  3) 6) 9) 6. How satisfied? 6 – very satisfied 5 – fairly satisfied 4 – a little satisfied 3 – a little dissatisfied  2 – fairly dissatisfied 1 – very dissatisfied 7. Whom can you really count on to care about you, regardless of what is happening to you? No One 1)  4) 7)  2) 5) 8)  3) 6) 9) 8. How satisfied? 6 – very satisfied 5 – fairly satisfied 4 – a little satisfied 3 – a little dissatisfied  2 – fairly dissatisfied 1 – very dissatisfied        71 9. Whom can you really count on to help you feel better when you are feeling generally down-in-the dumps? No One 1)  4) 7)  2) 5) 8)  3) 6) 9) 10. How satisfied? 6 – very satisfied 5 – fairly satisfied 4 – a little satisfied 3 – a little dissatisfied  2 – fairly dissatisfied 1 – very dissatisfied 11. Whom can you count on to console you when you are very upset? No One 1)  4) 7)  2) 5) 8)  3) 6) 9) 12. How satisfied? 6 – very satisfied 5 – fairly satisfied 4 – a little satisfied 3 – a little dissatisfied  2 – fairly dissatisfied 1 – very dissatisfied       72 Appendix F Demographic Information Sheet      73 Appendix G Informed Assent Script • My name is Rose Record and I am a graduate student from UBC  • I am doing a study that surveys teenagers from high schools • Your can decide whether or not to you would like to participate in the survey and your participation will be completely anonymous   • In the envelopes that I will be passing out to you, there are three surveys and a sheet that asks for some basic information about you • You will find directions that tell you how to fill out each survey on the front page of each survey. Make sure not to put your name anywhere on the surveys • Take as much time as you need to fill the surveys out and please return them to me when you are finished  

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