Troubled marriages and divorce: a prospective suburban study

J Fam Pract. 1983 Aug;17(2):249-58.


A longitudinal survey of adjustment to divorce in Cleveland, Ohio, suburbs was conducted with a matched sample of married persons in order to identify some of the common complaints, feelings, concerns, and health hazards among separated and divorced persons. The study findings show that substantial numbers of divorced and married people turn to their physicians for help with personal problems, suggesting that physicians need to be prepared to help them appropriately. Based upon these findings, opportunities are described that are open to the family physician for detecting distress in the troubled marriage and in divorce, as well as for therapeutic intervention. Types of interventions include anticipatory guidance, counseling, and referral for more intensive therapy. In the troubled marriage there is often an extended period of unhappiness and indecision. A physician alerted to the frequency with which marital distress is exhibited in physical or psychological symptoms may be able to provide assistance in sorting out priorities and options. Following a crisis model of adjustment, the heightened physical and psychological distress experienced during the early stages of the divorce process decreases with time. Many divorced parents are not aware of the im pact of marital turmoil and divorce on their children. The family physician plays an important part in helping parents recognize their continuing role in the lives of their children even if the marital relationship ends.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Counseling
  • Divorce / trends*
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Marriage*
  • Ohio
  • Prospective Studies
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Social Adjustment
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Suburban Population