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Fear of Abandonment as a Mediator of the Relations Between Divorce Stressors and Mother–Child Relationship Quality and Children's Adjustment Problems

Abstract

This study examines whether fear of abandonment mediates the prospective relations between divorce stressors and mother–child relationship quality and adjustment problems of children of divorce. Participants were 216 children, ages 8–12, and their primary residential mothers. Children reported on divorce stressors and fear of abandonment; mothers and children reported on mother–child relationship quality and internalizing and externalizing problems. Structural equation models indicated that Time 1 fear of abandonment mediated the relation between Time 1 divorce stressors and Time 2 internalizing and externalizing problems. Time 1 fear of abandonment also mediated the relation between Time 1 mother–child relationship quality and Time 2 internalizing and externalizing problems. Implications of these results for understanding variability in children's postdivorce adjustment problems and interventions for divorced families are discussed.

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Wolchik, S.A., Tein, JY., Sandler, I.N. et al. Fear of Abandonment as a Mediator of the Relations Between Divorce Stressors and Mother–Child Relationship Quality and Children's Adjustment Problems. J Abnorm Child Psychol 30, 401–418 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1015722109114

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  • children's postdivorce adjustment problems
  • fear of abandonment
  • mediators of postdivorce adjustment