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Romantic relationships of children of divorce: 
Is intimacy a problem?
By Katie Galanes

     This study looked at the effects of parental divorce and gender on college students’ ability to be intimate in heterosexual romantic relationships.  Past research has yielded mixed results, with some indicating children of divorce having more difficulty in being intimate than children from intact families and some claiming there is no difference between these two groups.  With regards to the issue of gender, literature has suggested that gender roles and socialization patterns have enticed females to think and act one way in romantic relationships and hold 
different expectations with regards to intimacy than males.  Therefore, the hypotheses for the present study were as follows: (1) that children of divorce (COD) will experience more concern, uncertainty, and inability to create, 
maintain and receive intimacy with a partner in a heterosexual romantic relationship than children of intact families (CIF), (2) females will experience more difficulty in intimacy than males for both groups and (3) out of the four possible groups (male/female COD/CIF), female COD will experience the most difficulty in creating, maintaining, or receiving intimacy in heterosexual romantic relationships, based on the notions of perceived gender roles and the impact of having parents who are divorced.
     Participants received and completed the Miller Social Intimacy Scale (MSIS) (Miller & Lefcourt, 1982) and the Personal Assessment of Intimacy in Relationships Scale (PAIR) (Schaefer & Olson, 1981).  A 2(gender) x 2(marital 
status of parents) ANOVA yielded no significance for the two scales. Correlational analyses were strong and ANOVA’s performed on individual questions on the MSIS showed significance for an interaction between parent’s marital status and gender on the individual’s ability to be intimate in romantic relationships.  An ANOVA on the PAIR also showed a significant interaction for parent’s marital 
status and gender, as well as a main effect for gender.  The results of this study did not completely support the hypothesis of a difference between groups for the 
construct of intimacy.  Findings were discussed in comparison with results from previous studies.  Limitations and confounds were also mentioned the present study in terms of their potential influence on the results. 

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      Relationships constitute the basic foundations of human life.  Interpersonal romantic relationships are seemingly the cornerstones on which happiness is built; thus people are continually seeking to find such relationships to complete their lives.  For this reason, both developmental and social psychologists have long had a vested interest in researching how these relationships come into existence and the various problems accompanying them.  By fully understanding the complexity of human relationships and the components involved, psychologists will be more effective in counseling and aiding individuals experiencing difficulties in maintaining successful relationships, romantic relationships in particular, as they appear to be a central component for happiness.
     In order to achieve successful romantic relationships, each person must establish a comfortable level of intimacy with the other.  Intimacy, defined most often by researchers as the ability to trust and fully self-disclose to another individual (Brown, 2001; Johnston & Thomas, 1996; Sinclair & Nelson, 1998; Arditti, 1999), lies at the heart of romantic relationships and for some people, this is where the problem arises.  Problems in romantic relationships can exist in creating, maintaining and/or being open to receiving intimacy from another person.  Reasons for this are copious including, but not limited to, having been hurt in romantic relationships previously, never having been in an intimate relationship, having received any form of abuse (verbal, emotional or physical) in any type of relationship previously which could conceivably affect feelings in all ensuing relationships, family changes such as parental divorce or loss of loved ones through death, and gender differences in regards to perceptions and beliefs of respective gender roles in romantic relationships (Brown, 2001). The purpose of the present research focuses on college students’ ability for intimacy in their heterosexual romantic relationships and how that ability may have been impacted by parental divorce.
     Divorce, the legal dissolution of marriage, has been shown to have longitudinal effects on both the couple and any children involved (Wallerstein et al., 2000; Hetherington, 1993; Christensen & Brooks, 2001; Jacquet & Surra, 2001; Brown, 2000; Brown & Amatea, 2000; Arditti, 1999).  There are many ways that romantic relationships could potentially be affected for children of divorce (COD).  As stated above, it seems feasible that COD may have difficulty self-disclosing and trusting a partner as a result of their parents’ divorce.  Much research has been conducted examining this concept, as well as potential differences between COD and children from intact families (CIF) on intimacy levels in heterosexual romantic relationships.
     One study (Sinclair & Nelson, 1998) found no significant difference in intimacy levels in romantic relationships between children from divorced families and children from intact families.  Defining intimacy as a “sustained love between partners, mutual trust, and partner cohesiveness” (Sinclair & Nelson, 1998, p. 111), 300 college students were grouped according to parent’s marital status (divorced vs. non-divorced) and were given the following questionnaires: the Personal Assessment of Iintimacy in Relationships Scale (PAIR) and the Miller Social Intimacy Scale ( MSIS). Analyses yielded no significant difference between the two groups on the intimacy measure.  Gender however was a significant predictor of scores on the PAIR, a topic that will be addressed momentarily in this review. 
     Next, Johnston and Thomas (1996) administered four scales (Perceived Risk Scale, Dyadic Trust Scale, Parental Conflict Scale and a Demographic questionnaire) to a COD group and a CIF group who had reported low parental conflict post divorce, all of whom had been in heterosexual monogamous relationships for at least 3 months prior to participating.  Results indicated that the COD possessed an overall lack of trust in intimate relationships, as well as a higher expectancy of personal marriage failure.  Holding this belief permitted them to enter into relationships with pre-existing lower levels of trust than the CIF potentially impacting the love relationships of COD negatively and immediately (Johnston & Thomas, 1996).
     Jacquet and Surra (2001) used the structured interview to look at intimacy in terms of level of trust, ambivalence about involvement, commitment and satisfaction.  They spoke with 202 couples and administered a  questionnaire  to each individual that included items from love, friendship, and trust scales.  Separated into two groups, COD and CIF, data analysis yielded a small but significant difference between the two groups in terms of intimacy in relationships.  However, a significant gender difference was found across all measures 
except commitment, indicating that female COD experienced less trust and intimacy in their romantic relationships than did male COD.  Possible explanations for this finding that the consequences of divorce are worse for females stem from theories on women’s psychology and the different socialization processes for each gender, which attribute more sensitivity and emotionality to females in terms of romantic relationships and relationships in general (Jacquet & Surra, 2001).  Seeing this as an important concept in COD research, the present study will seek to expand on the notion that female COD experience less trust and intimacy in their romantic relationships through an analysis of gender differences.
     As mentioned earlier there is another factor that repeatedly comes to light in examining the impact of divorce on children and their subsequent romantic relationships: Gender.   Gender differences, in terms of how each perceives his/her role and ability for intimacy in romantic relationships, has long been a topic of interest in the fields of developmental and social psychology (Christensen & Brooks, 2001).  Research on gender roles in interpersonal relationships has made the claim that males and females are socialized very differently in terms of thoughts, emotions and relationship beliefs right from birth and consequently view their roles in relationships as different from each another (Lips, 2001).  Significant gender differences in intimacy levels has been found in romantic relationships of COD as aforementioned in previous research (Jacquet & Surra, 2001; Sinclair & Nelson, 1998).  Other studies have reported no significant difference for gender on measures of intimacy in romantic relationships for COD.
     One such study was that of Kunkle & Gerrity (1997).  Defining self-disclosure as “the willingness to share information about one’s personal states, dispositions, events of the past and plans for the future” (Derlega & Grzelak, 1979), this study  examined the relationship of gender and self-disclosure as a possible predictor of intimacy.  The Self-Disclosure Questionnaire was administered to 81 females and 35 males.  Analyses revealed no significant difference between males and females, indicating that gender was not significant predictor of self-disclosure for those participants. 
     In all the studies discussed above there were numerous limitations and potential confounds.  Perhaps the main limitation in past research on love relationships of COD is the small number of participants, especially in the COD group.  Divorce, an extremely sensitive issue, is understandably one that people do not wish to discuss and so studying it poses a problem in terms of methodology. Researchers must also account for the variability in feelings of children of divorce when collecting, analyzing, and interpreting their data so as to accurately describe the real impact of divorce on children’s ability to be intimate in romantic relationships. 
     Taking this information into account, I propose to conduct a quasi-experiment to determine the potential differences in ability for intimacy between COD and CIF in their heterosexual romantic relationships.  Gender will also be taken into account and analyzed for significant differences.  Intimacy will be defined for the purposes of this research as a person’s ability to trust in his/her partner, with high levels of intimacy stemming from completely trusting one’s partner; combined with the amount of full self-disclosure, as defined in Kunkle & Gerrity’s study (1997) permitted by that person. 
     My hypothesis is three-fold: First, I hypothesize that COD will experience more concern, uncertainty, and inability to create, maintain and receive intimacy with a partner in a heterosexual romantic relationship than CIF based on the results of previous research (Jacquet & Surra, 2001; Brown, 2000; Johnston & Thomas, 1996).  Second, I hypothesize that females will experience more difficulty in intimacy than males for both groups, based upon past research (Jacquet & Surra, 2001) as well as social psychology’s theories of perceived gender roles in romantic relationships. Third, out of the four possible groups (male/female COD/CIF), female COD will experience the most difficulty in creating, maintaining, or receiving intimacy in heterosexual romantic relationships, based on the notions of perceived gender roles and the impact of having parents who are divorced.
     With such mixed results in past research, it is clear that further research is needed in this area to reach a more accurate depiction of the long-term effects of divorce on children’s ability to be intimate in romantic relationships.  This would be useful information in particular for children of divorce as well as for parents and counselors who may be sought out to give advice to those who may be experiencing intimacy problems in their romantic relationships. 

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     Participants were 63 undergraduate students enrolled in an introductory psychology class at a small, Catholic liberal arts college in New England.  There were 24 males and 39 females, ranging from 18-22 years of age.  All students (n= 176) in the introductory classes were pre-tested ( see Appendix A for sample pretest) with the intention of determining (1) marital status of parents and (2) any experience in being in a heterosexual romantic relationship.  Those not meeting at least one of these criteria (n= 47) were not considered for this study.  The remaining 129 students were then randomly selected and a total of 63 students participated in this study, for which they received class credit. 

     The Miller Social Intimacy Scale (MSIS) was used and is a 17-item scale designed to assess level of intimacy in adult relationships.  It was used to access overall ability to be intimate in a heterosexual romantic relationship. Six items on the MSIS refer to frequency of intimacy contacts while the remaining 11 seek to determine the intensity of those contacts. Total scores were calculated using a 5-point Likert scale, with high total scores indicating high levels of intimacy.  High internal reliability (r = .86 and .91 in two separate samples) and convergent and discriminant validity (r = .71 and .48 respectively) of this scale has been reported (Sinclair & Nelson, 1998). (For example items see Appendix B).
     The second instrument used was the Personal Assessment of Intimacy in Relationships (PAIR) which is a 36 item scale measuring five types of intimacy: emotional, social, sexual, intellectual, and recreational.  This scale measures the perceived versus expected degrees of intimacy in relationships (Schaefer & Olson, 1981).  Responses are added up according to a 5-point Likert scale, with high total scores indicating high degrees of intimacy.  Reliability (r = .73, .67, .77, .80 and .55 for each type of intimacy respectively) and construct and convergent validity have been demonstrated through previous research (Moore & McCabe & Stockdale, 1998).  (For example items see Appendix C).

      Prior to beginning the study participants were informed that the purpose of the research was to examine differences in intimacy levels in the romantic relationships of college students.  Upon completion of informed consent ensuring voluntary participation and complete anonymity of information, each participant received a packet containing the MSIS and the PAIR.  They were instructed to answer all questions to the best of their ability and to take as much time as necessary to do so.  Once all information had been collected from participants, a debriefing sheet (see Appendix D) was distributed for the participants to read at their seat, explaining the hypothesis of this study and thanking them for their participation.  Credit slips were then issued to each participant to fulfill their class requirement and they were free to ask questions and/or leave.

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     A 2 (COD, CIF) x 2 (gender) Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was conducted on both the MSIS and the PAIR to determine differences in level of intimacy between children of divorce (COD) and children from intact families (CIF).  For the MSIS, no difference was found for marital status of parents (F(1,59)= .123, p < .05).  This does not support the hypothesis that COD experience more concern, uncertainty and inability to create, maintain and receive intimacy with a partner in a heterosexual romantic relationship than CIF.  On the contrary, the means of the two groups for marital status of parents (COD = 66.087;CIF = 64.474) indicate that CODs reported more intimacy in relationships than CIF. 
     The hypothesis that females would experience more difficulty with intimacy than males in heterosexual romantic relationships was also not supported (F(1,59)= .837, p < .05).  For the PAIR, a 2 x 2 ANOVA was performed on each of the five different subscales: emotional, social, sexual, intellectual and recreational intimacy, as well as on a score for conventionality. For gender, a significant differences were found for emotional (F(1,59)=.011, p < .05) and recreational intimacy (F(1,59)= .032, p < .05) as well as conventionality (F(1,59)= .017, p < .05).  The means for these effects show males scoring higher for each variable (see Table 1).  These effects are consistent with the hypothesis that females will score lower than males, indicating more of a difficulty in being intimate in heterosexual romantic relationships. 
     Interaction effects between marital status of parents and gender yielded significance was found for the subscales of intellectual and recreational intimacy ((F(1,59)=.021, p < .05) and (F(1,59)=.008, p < .05) respectively). An interesting finding on these subscales was that the means for male COD were higher than all other groups, indicating that in comparison with female COD and both male and female CIF, male COD experienced more intimacy in their heterosexual romantic relationships.  This does not support the hypothesis that COD will score lower than CIF on measures of intimacy.
     Pearson correlation analyses were then performed between the MSIS and the PAIR. Significance was found for nine questions and further analysis yielded significance on three questions.  These findings supported the hypothesis that male COD would report more intimacy in their heterosexual romantic relationships than female COD and did not support the hypotheses that female COD will report the lowest levels of intimacy in their heterosexual romantic relationships than all other groups and  that female COD will report the lowest levels of intimacy in their heterosexual romantic relationships of all four groups.

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     Initially, no significant differences were found on the MSIS using an ANOVA.  In fact, the means for COD and CIF on the MSIS seemed to indicate exactly the opposite of the prediction: that is, the COD reported more intimacy than the CIF did.  While there was no statistical significance to support this finding, it is quite possible that COD work harder than CIF to create, maintain and receive intimacy, in an effort to compensate for their feelings of inadequacy stemming from watching their parent’s intimate relationship deteriorate.  Perhaps this extra work at having an intimate relationship resulted in a truly intimate relationship with a romantic partner or perhaps the individual has the illusion of intimacy because he/she is working extra hard at it, therefore, intimacy must naturally ensue. 
     Strong correlations were noted on specific questions and an ANOVA on these individual questions indicated significance on three of them.  These findings lend support to the hypotheses that male COD would report more intimacy in their heterosexual romantic relationships than female COD but did not support the hypothesis that female COD would report the lowest levels of intimacy in their heterosexual romantic relationships than all other groups.
     The results of the present study are consistent research indicating no difference between COD and CIF (Sinclair & Nelson, 1998).  The results on the MSIS run concurrent with past research revealing a difference between the two groups (Jacquet & Surra, 2001; Johnston & Thomas, 1996).  In looking at the effects of gender on college student’s ability to be intimate in heterosexual romantic relationships, the results of the present study indicate that gender by itself was not a significant predictor of an individual’s ability to be intimate in his/her romantic relationships which was similar to previous research findings ( Kunkle & Gerrity, 1997). A possible explanation for the finding of male COD reporting more intimacy could be that gender roles and socialization patterns have changed over the years and males are now being reared and encouraged to self-disclose and be intimate with a partner in a romantic relationship.  Or perhaps male COD are working harder at having intimate relationships to avoid ending a romantic relationship, like he saw happened with his parents. 
     The finding of females reporting less intimacy is consistent with gender role theories previously mentioned as learned through socialization patterns for females (Brown, 2001; Lips, 2001).  Females are socialized to trust and self-disclose to their partners because they perceive their role to be the caring, nurturing and emotionally open one in the relationship.  If a female has experienced hurt or betrayal of intimacy, perhaps as a result of one of her past romantic relationships or due to the divorce of her parents, it seems feasible that she will then experience more difficulty on creating, maintaining or being open to receiving intimacy with a partner.  The security of trusting someone with personal information has been violated in someway, and in its place is fear of getting hurt again.  Females may then demonstrate more difficulty in having intimate relationships than males. 
    The finding that female COD did not report the lowest scores of intimacy of all four groups could stem from the same ideas regarding male COD scoring higher than the other groups: perhaps female COD are also working extra hard at creating, maintaining and receiving intimacy in romantic relationships in an effort to keep the relationship intact. 
     Possible explanations for these findings could be that male COD and males overall in this study work harder at having intimacy in romantic relationships to dispel male socialization patterns and gender role theories.  Using these same concepts, another reason females tend to score lower on intimacy measures could potentially be because females are reared to be more trusting and disclose more to a partner (Brown, 2001; Lips, 2001).  If the child experiences a betrayal of trust either in a direct relationship or between people close to her say in her parent’s marriage, she could conceivably transfer her feelings about that experience into her ensuing relationships without even intending too.  The circumstances surrounding divorce (conflict between parents, illness or financial concerns for example) and its exact effects are difficult to account for without directly inquiring (which, due to the sensitivity of the issue, may place participants in an awkward and uncomfortable position and he/she may choose not to answer); consequently the measurements of the effects of divorce present a challenge to accurately measure due to the nature of the issue itself, any number of circumstances surrounding it and sensitivity of the situation for all involved. 
     Potential confounds and limitations for this study were that the number of participants in the male COD was quite a bit smaller than any other group.  Another potential confound for the present study could again be for the individuals in the COD group in that their exact age at the time of their parent’s divorce was not recorded.  The circumstances surrounding the divorce may also be a noteworthy piece of information to take into account. It seems feasible that they are important factors in determining one’s thoughts, feelings and perceptions about things such as intimacy in romantic relationships because an individual’s thoughts, feelings and perceptions are largely based on their direct experiences or experiences they have witnessed. 
     In terms of limitations in this research, an obvious one deals with the individual’s understanding of the effects (if any) of his/her parent’s divorce on his/her ability to be intimate.  Since the participants did not know until after they had completed the survey packet that the primary interest of the research was the effects of parental divorce on their romantic relationships, it seems plausible that their responses were not influenced by the issue of divorce.  If they had had this notion in their mind two things are possible: (1) perhaps they would have altered their answers in an effort to show that their parents divorce didn’t affect their behavior (because perhaps they think it did have an effect but do not want to admit to it out of fear of being different from other children) or (2) maybe if they had known they would have interpreted the questions a little differently and likewise answered them based on what has changed for them as a result of their parents divorce.  The present study operated under the assumption that the COD kept this in mind without being told to do so, but perhaps that was too broad an assumption and future research should seek to be more specific in its instructions to its participants. 
     Lastly, the construct of intimacy is just that: a construct.  Constructs in and of themselves are difficult to measure for numerous reasons (such as people having different definitions of them, people holding different views in regards to whether a given concept is important, valid and relevant to them in their life, and how accurate any measuring instrument can be in measuring the exact concept).  This latter reason could have potentially played a role in the present research. 
     And yet it is imperative that research continue despite such uncertainties because it is through research like this that peoples’ (professionals and otherwise) understanding of contemporary issues such as the effects of divorce on children’s ability to be intimate in heterosexual romantic relationships can be deepened and strengthened.  Research of this kind is important because it can help psychologists, sociologists, parents, children of divorce and the romantic partners of child of divorce better understand what issues may be present and why they exist.  This could in turn enable them to better aid individuals who struggle with intimacy in romantic as well as any other kind of relationship as a result of parental divorce or who struggle with just the issue of parental divorce by itself.  Understanding the potential effects of parental divorce on children could also be used to avert children presently going through a parental divorce from struggling with emotions such as intimacy as some children of divorce experience currently.  Any research that could help minimize the effects of divorce for children would be of great benefit and that is why it should continue.
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     Arditti, J.A. (1999). Parental divorce and young adults’ intimate relationships: 
           Toward a new paradigm. Marriage and Family Review,29, 35-55.

     Brown, J. (2001). Intimacy, gender and self psychology:   Considerations for 
           relationship counseling. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Family 
           Therapy,22, 137-146.

     Brown, N.M. (2000). Love relationships of children of divorce: How are they 
           different from others. (Doctoral Dissertation, Union Institute, 2000). 
           Dissertation Abstracts International,60, 6419. 

     Brown, N.M. & Amatea, E.S. (2000). Love and Intimate  Relationships: 
           Journeys of the Heart. Pennsylvania: Brunner/Mazel.

     Christensen, T.M. & Brooks, M.C. (2001). Adult children of divorce and 
           intimate relationships: A review of the  literature. Family Journal of
           Counseling & Therapy for  Couples & Families,9, 289-294.

     Derlega, V.J. & Grzelak, J. (1979). Appropriateness of  Self-Disclosure. In 
          G.J. Chelune & Associates (eds), Self-Disclosure: Origins, Patterns, and 
          Implications of Openness in Interpersonal Relationships, 151-176. SF: 

     Hetherington, E.M. (1993). An overview of the Virginia longitudinal study of 
          divorce and remarriage with a focus on early adolescence. Journal of 
          Family Psychology,7, 39- 56.

     Jacquet, S.E. & Surra, C.A. (2001). Parental divorce and premarital couples: 
          Commitment and other relationship characteristics. Journal of Marriage & 
          Family,63, 627-631.

     Johnston, S.G. & Thomas, A.M. (1996). Divorced versus intact parental 
          marriage and perceived risk and dyadic trust in present heterosexual 
          relationships. Psychological Reports,78, 387-390.

    Kunkle, S. & Gerrity, D.A. (1997). Gender, expressiveness, instrumentality and 
         group social environment as predictors of self disclosure. Journal for 
         Specialistsin Group Work,22, 214-224.

     Lips, H.M. (2001). Sex & Gender: An Introduction. London: Mayfield 
         Publishing Company.

     Moore, K.A. & McCabe, M.P. & Stockdale, J. E. (1998). Factor analysis of 
          the personal assessment of intimacy in relationships scale (PAIR): 
          Engagement, communication and shared friendships. Sexual & Marital 
          Therapy,13, 361-368.

     Schaefer, M.T. & Olson, D.H. (1981). Assessing intimacy: The PAIR 
          inventory. Journal of Marital and Family  Therapy, 47-60.

     Sinclair, S.L. & Nelson, E.S. (1998). The impact of parental divorce on 
          college  students’ intimate relationships and relationship beliefs. Journal of 
          Divorce & Remarriage,29,103-129.

     Wallerstein, J. & Lewis, J. & Blakeslee, S. (2000). The Unexpected Legacy 
          of Divorce: A 25 Year Landmark Study. New York: Hyperion.

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Table 1

Means for PAIR Subscales of Emotional and Recreational Intimacy and 
Conventionality With Respect to Gender

PAIR Subscale          Gender        Mean        Std. Error

Emotional Intimacy     Female        29.77         5.79

Emotional Intimacy      Male         58.02         9.09

Recreational Intimacy  Female        20.56         5.74 

Recreational Intimacy   Male         43.98         9.01

Conventionality        Female        55.10         3.15 

Conventionality         Male         69.47         4.95 
(n= 24)

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Appendix A

Sample Pretest 

Hello, I am a senior psychology major gathering some background data for my thesis. I need to find out different characteristics associated with students currently taking Intro to Psych here at St. A’s.  Please take a moment to answer the following questions and return this sheet to me or your professor.

Home State:
Year of Grad:
Have you ever been in a heterosexual romantic relationship?
Have you ever been to a funeral?
Have you had a best friend in the past 6 months? 
             If so, male or female?
Are your parents divorced?
What particular religious affiliation do you identify with?
What political party do you identify with?
Thank you.  If you’d like to be contacted for the 2nd phase of this study please print your name and extension in the space below.  If you meet the criteria I am looking for, you will contacted by October 14th 2002.  At that time, should you choose to participate in my study you may count that as credit hours toward your class requirements.  Thanks again.

Name:                                   Extension:


Appendix B

Sample Questions from MSIS

                                            Very rarely         Sometimes        Almost Always

How often do you keep 
very personal information             1           2            3            4             5
to yourself and do/did not 
share it with him/her?

How often do/did you show 
him/her affection?                        1           2            3            4             5

How often do/did you confide
very personal information to        1           2            3            4             5

How often are/were you able
to understand his/her feelings?     1           2           3             4             5 
his/her feelings?

How often do/did you feel 
close to him/her?                         1           2           3             4             5


Appendix C

Sample questions from PAIR

                               Strongly        Somewhat        Neutral     Somewhat   Strongly
                               Disagree          Disagree                           Agree        Agree 

My partner listens 
to me when I                  0                   1                    2             3            4 
need someone 
to talk to

I am satisfied with 
the level of                     0                     1                    2            3             4          affection in our relationship

My partner helps me 
clarify my thoughts         0                    1                    2                3           4       and feelings

I feel it is useless 
to discuss some             0                     1                    2               3           4 
things with my partner

My partner and I 
understand each             0                    1                 2                  3           4         other completely


Appendix D

Feedback to Participants

Thank you for your participation in my study. The purpose of my research is to examine the ways college students view themselves in heterosexual romantic relationships and to identify any possible effects of parental divorce on their views.  Past research has suggested that some people are negatively affected in their romantic relationships by their parents divorce and others are not.  This study is seeking to identify group differences, as well as gender differences regarding any effects parental divorce may have on their children’s ability to form and maintain intimate romantic relationships of their own.

Based on the information you provided during the prescreening stage of this study, you were selected to complete three different surveys designed to measure your level of intimacy with a past or current heterosexual partner.  Some of you come from divorced families; others do not.  It is not the intent of this research to decipher individual differences and please be aware that your personal information has and will remain anonymous throughout this study.  I am only interested in finding group differences in college students and possible gender differences. It is also important to note that there are no right or wrong answers to these questions as many factors impact how people view themselves in romantic relationships.  I am only looking at the issue of parental divorce.

In order to maintain the integrity of this study the details of it need to remain confidential until I have collected all my participants’ information.  If other participants were to know exactly what characteristic is being examined in relation to their ability to be intimate in heterosexual romantic relationship, the information they report may be biased in some way. Therefore, I am enlisting your aid in keeping this information about the study quiet until mid November.  At this time, feel free to openly discuss this study with friends, relatives, professors etc.  If you have any questions or would like to know the results of my study, feel free to contact me at any time at kgalanes@anselm.edu. 

Thanks again!

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Relevant Links

American Psychological Association 

The Better Divorce Network

Divorce and Children.Com

Social Psychology Network

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 children of divorce
 romantic relationships

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