I’ll Never Forgive You: High Conflict Divorce, Social Network, and Co-Parenting Conflicts

In Study 1, a convenience sample of 136 divorced parents recruited via online forums, we showed that perceived social network disapproval was positively related to co-parenting conflicts and that parents’ tendency to forgive the other parent—albeit partly—explained this relationship

Margreet Visser


Scholarcy highlights

  • Living in divorced families is common and may be harmful for children
  • First, in a convenience sample of divorced parents recruited via online forums, and, second, in a clinical sample of parents involved in high-conflict divorces who were referred to treatment because of the imminent threat their conflicts posed to the psychosocial wellbeing of their children
  • Results indicated that perceived social network disapproval, forgiveness, and co-parenting conflicts did not differ significantly across gender, t(134) ≤ 1.361, p ≥ .179, d ≤
  • Extending previous research on social network disapproval and forgiveness to co-parenting conflicts between divorced parents, we predicted that forgiveness mediates the link between perceptions of network disapproval and conflict
  • Given the devastating effects of co-parenting conflicts on children’s post-divorce adjustment and well-being, and the fact that high conflict parents often underestimate the effects of their conflicts on children, a replication of our findings in a high conflict sample of parents was deemed necessary
  • Coparenting conflicts did differ significantly across gender in the high conflict divorced group, B = −.26, t(57.34) = −2.55, p = .013, 95% CI =; men reported higher levels of co-parenting conflict than women
  • Speaking to the robustness of these results, we found the hypothesized mediation across two studies, involving a convenience sample of divorced parents and a sample of high conflict divorced parents whose children were clinically referred for intervention because their wellbeing was severely compromised by the severity of parental conflicts
  • These results emphasize the need for more experimental and prospective studies investigating the proposed links, and point to the possibility that parental forgiveness, co-parenting conflicts, and perceived social networkapproval may reinforce each other in a cyclic model

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