Sensitive Mother-to-Adolescent Disclosures After Divorce: Is the Experience of Sons Different From That of Daughters?

Susan Silverberg Koerner, Sara Wallace, Stephanie Jacobs Lehman, Sun A. Lee, Kristine A. Escalante

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

This study addressed two main questions: (a) Are adolescent sons and daughters exposed to sensitive maternal disclosures after divorce with similar frequency and in similar detail? and (b) Does gender act as a moderator in the association between maternal disclosures and adolescent adjustment difficulties? Forced-choice and open-ended data were collected from 194 adolescents within 2 years after their parents' divorce. Quantitative analyses revealed that although the majority of adolescents experience some level of maternal disclosure, neither frequency nor detail of maternal disclosure differed as a function of adolescent gender. Frequent and detailed maternal disclosures were associated with adolescent adjustment difficulties, primarily psychological distress. Gender did not moderate that significant association. Qualitative analysis shed light on the link between maternal disclosures and adolescent distress, suggested the importance of how disclosures are made, and revealed several gender differences in reactions to maternal disclosures. Implications of the findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-57
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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