The relationship of ego strength and tolerance of ambiguity to divorce adjustment
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Over the last 25 years, the divorce rate in this country has doubled. In 1985 alone, 1,190,000 divorces took place in the United States. This rise in the number of marital dissolutions indicates that more and more people are experiencing the trauma of divorce and its subsequent adjustment. A review of the literature reveals that most people who experience divorce regard it as a life crisis. It is noted that as many as 50% of all divorced persons receive psychiatric care. This does not include less formal interventions, such as pastoral counseling or social support groups. Researchers have examined specific variables affecting the adjustment process, but few studies have considered the relationship of personality style and cognitive style to divorce adjustment. The present study investigated the relationship of ego-strength and tolerance of ambiguity to divorce adjustment. The study predicted that there would be a positive relationship between ego-strength and divorce adjustment. It also predicted a positive relationship between tolerance of ambiguity and divorce adjustment. Divorce adjustment was measured by the total score on the Fisher Divorce Adjustment Scale. Ego-strength was measured by Barron's Ego-Strength Scale and tolerance of ambiguity was measured by Budner's Intolerance of Ambiguity Scale. A forced entry multiple regression was utilized to test the predicted hypothesis. Once these results were obtained, the predictors were augmented with variables extracted from the demographic data. Backward elimination multiple regression was used to determine if the prediction arrived from the two variables could be improved. Results indicated that ego-strength had a much larger relative contribution to divorce adjustment than did tolerance of ambiguity or the additional combination of predictor variables. For exploratory purposes, after an alpha coefficient of .80 was determined for the subscales comprising the Fisher Divorce Adjustment Total Score, a canonical correlation was employed to assess the relative contributions of these individual subscales to the total score. Of the two canonical variates, the first appeared to represent an ego-strength dimension. The other dimension, tolerance of ambiguity, accounted for less than 10% of its total variance.