Examining gender effects in postdivorce adjustment trajectories over the first year after divorce in Denmark

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Research into gender and postdivorce mental and physical health has been highly inconsistent. The Gender Similarities Hypothesis suggests there are more similarities than differences and the Divorce Stress Adjustment Perspective suggests that structural inequalities may contribute to adverse postdivorce outcomes. We conducted secondary analyses from an RCT study to investigate if there were gender-specific trajectories and whether gender was associated with outcomes (self-perceived stress, symptoms of anxiety, depression, and somatization, general hostility, and overall mental and physical health) after controlling for effects of the intervention, income, and number of children using linear mixed-effect regression modeling, and whether number of children and income influenced these outcomes. Participants were 1,239 women and 617 men from the Cooperation after Divorce (CAD) study, conducted in Denmark, a country with less income disparity, high gender equality, shared childrearing by men and women, and societal acceptance of divorce. The analyses assessing the relationship between gender and 12-month postdivorce adjustment in terms of physical and mental health outcomes revealed that for self-perceived stress, symptoms of anxiety, depression, and somatization, hostility, and overall mental and physical health in this sample postdivorce adjustment trajectories were not gender-specific, and gender was only significantly associated with stress and somatization as a time-invariant additive effect. These findings suggest gender similarities in postdivorce adjustment and contribute to the Gender Similarities Hypothesis and the Divorce-Stress-Adjustment-Perspective by assessing individuals' postdivorce adjustment in a low-stigma and relatively egalitarian setting, providing a clearer assessment of the role of gender without potentially confounding issues of structural inequalities. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2021

ID: 283746480