The impact of social support on women’s adjustment to divorce: A literature review and analysis

Virginia L. Smerglia, Nancy B. Miller, Lisa Kort-Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Divorce is viewed as a stressor in social, economic and psychological areas of life. Research shows women have diminished economic contexts and greater parenting responsibilities after divorce. Many studies examine divorced women’s social support and its impact on adjustment. This literature review quantifies perceived (available) and received (enacted) social support and adjustment measures of fifteen published articles. Crosstabs and chi-square are used to analyze ninety-eight social support-adjustment relationships. Social support measures are categorized as instrumental or socioemotional for one analysis. Results show social support significantly helps in only one of four relationships. There is no difference in impact on adjustment if social support is perceived versus received, if studies are cross-sectional versus longitudinal, or if adjustment measures are categorized. However, socioemotional support is significantly more likely (p < .01) to positively impact adjustment than instrumental support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-89
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Divorce and Remarriage
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Divorce
  • Divorced women
  • Post-divorce adjustment
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Law

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