Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Mothers post-divorce: The challenges of adjustment


This article discusses the adjustment process of mothers following divorce. The process is viewed as one in which the individual meets a number of interrelated challenges, involving the resolution of practical and emotional problems. These challenges include: dealing with intense negative emotions; resolving practical problems of daily living; assuming the responsibilities of parenting; achieving self-acceptance; giving up the demand for fairness; establishing an effective ex-spousal relationship; and developing new interests and relationships. This article uses an RET framework to explore dysfunctional patterns which have a negative impact on the adjustment process and the implications for therapeutic intervention with this client population.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Beck, A.T. (1976).Cognitive therapy and the emotional disorders. New York: International Universities Press.

  2. Beck, A., Rush, A., Shaw, F., and Emery, G. (1979).Cognitive therapy of depression. New York: Guilford Press.

  3. Ellis, A. (1973).Humanistic psychotherapy. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company.

  4. Ellis, A., and Grieger, R. (1977).Handbook of rational-emotive therapy. New York: Springer Publishing Company.

  5. Ellis, A. (1979).Reason and emotion in psychotherapy. Secaucus, N.J.: The Citadel Press.

  6. Ellis, A., and Bernard, M. (1983). An overview of rational-emotive approaches in childhood problems. In A. Ellis and M. Bernard (Eds.),Rational-emotive approaches to problems of childhood. New York: Plenum Press.

  7. Grieger, R. (1985). The process of rational-emotive therapy.Journal of Rational Emotive Therapy, 3, 138–148.

  8. Minuchin, S. (1974).Families and family therapy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

  9. Walen, S.R., Digiusepe, R., and Wessler, R. (1980).A practitioners guide to rational emotive therapy. New York: Oxford University Press.

  10. Wallerstein, J., and Kelly, J. (1980).Surviving the breakup. New York: Basic Books.

  11. Waters, V. (1982). Therapies for children: Rational-emotive therapy. In C.B. Reynolds and T.B. Gutkin (Eds.),Handbook of school psychology. New York: Wiley.

  12. Wessler, R., and Wessler, R. (1980).The principles and practices of rationalemotive therapy. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc. Publishers.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Barbara Mandell.

Additional information

Barbara Mandell R.N., M.A. is a Clinical specialist in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing. She is in private practice in Ellicott City, Maryland and is co-founder and Clinical Coordinator of the Children of Separation and Divorce Project, the Family Life Center, Columbia Md.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Mandell, B. Mothers post-divorce: The challenges of adjustment. J Rational-Emot Cognitive-Behav Ther 6, 81–101 (1988).

Download citation


  • Public Health
  • Negative Impact
  • Therapeutic Intervention
  • Daily Living
  • Negative Emotion