Maternal socialization of children's postdivorce coping: Development of a measurement model

Paul Miller, Wendy Kliewer, Joseph T. Hepworth, Irwin Sandler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Although the role of family factors affecting children's adjustment to postdivorce stressors has been investigated, research has yet to explore how children learn strategies to cope with such events. As a first step in this process, the objectives of this study were to: (a) develop a model of mothers' dispositional socialization of coping, (b) compare, through a separate confirmatory factor analysis, this model to one assessing coping socialization situationally, (c) assess the invariance of the model across age and gender, (d) determine the stability of the model over time, (e) assess the validity of the measures, and (f) assess the consistency between mothers' own coping and coping strategies they encouraged their children to use. Participants were 258 divorced mothers who maintained custody of their children and who were divorced within the past 2 years. Results for the dispositional measure indicated that a six-factor model consisting of problem-focused, positive cognitive restructuring, avoidance, distraction, seeking support, and negative actions coping suggestions provided the best fit indexes, and model factors were invariant across age and gender. The six-factor model also fit the situational measure well, and model factor loadings were invariant across age and gender, although several factor intercorrelations differed by age or gender. The six-factor model was found to be stable for the dispositional measure when assessed through confirmatory factor analyses 5 months later. Assessments of validity indicated that the coping socialization factors were related to mothers' reports of their children's coping cross-sectionally and longitudinally, and to mothers' retrospective reports of coping socialization in actual postdivorce stressful events. Finally, there was convergence between mothers' reports of their own coping efforts with those they encouraged in their children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-487
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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