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Current Issues in Personality Psychology
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vol. 4
Original paper

Psychological well-being of individuals after divorce: the role of social support

Anna Kołodziej-Zaleska, Hanna Przybyła-Basista

Current Issues in Personality Psychology, 4(4), 206–216
Online publish date: 2016/10/18
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Divorce is a transition period in which divorcing individuals face restructuring of the family system and adjustment to changes. The psychological well-being of divorcees can serve as an important indicator of the adjustment process. The achievement of well-being does not come easily for many reasons, one of which is the experience related to a sense of loss associated with the marriage break-up. Social support is a major relational resource for overcoming the crisis and successfully adjusting to post-divorce life.

Participants and procedure

The sample consisted of 157 individuals after divorce: 120 women and 37 men (mean age = 41.29). Instruments employed in the study included the Sense of Loss Scale (DS), the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List (ISEL), the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire (OHQ-23), and sociodemographic data.


Our results show that perceived social support is a partial mediator of the relationship between the sense of loss associated with divorce and the psychological well-being of individuals after divorce. For the vast majority of the respondents their parents, friends and acquaintances were the major source of support. About one third of the participants were given support by their siblings and their own children.


The study confirms the mediating role of support in building well-being after experiencing loss related to dissolution of marriage. This means that for divorced women and men perceived social support is one of the key resources that have a significant impact on achieving psychological well-being after divorce, since it is related to mitigating the negative impact of the sense of loss associated with marriage break-up.

psychological well-being; divorce; sense of loss; perceived social support

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