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Attachment and Divorce: Family Consequences

Cristina E. Eagan
Rochester Institute of Technology

Bowlby's, Ainsworth's, and Shaver's research created the understanding that infant styles create a disposition for later behavioral traits. More current research has questioned the significance of how the disruption of the attachment structure (such as in divorce) can affect children's behaviors throughout life. The research on this topic is contradictory and somewhat inconclusive, with research asserting that either attachment style or external environment has been the main contributor to the behaviors seen in members of divorced families, while many sources stated that it is likely to be a combination of both influences. With either explanation, research concludes that children of divorced families have a disposition to these behaviors, but the end development of behavior and personality is in the hands of the individual and the external factors that are present.

This paper discusses the attachment theory that was developed by Harlow, Bowlby and Ainsworth, which states that attachment is a key aspect to determining personality and behavior throughout an individual's lifetime. Attachment can be defined as the strong bond that develops first between parent and child, and later in peer and romantic relationships (Bowlby, 1969). Research on divorce and separation of attachment figures has yielded conflicting results. It is often reported that children of divorce have trouble adapting to different stages of their lives because of their experience with broken or detached attachment bonds. These children are said to have no accurate template for successful relationships to replicate in their lives. Other research boasted results that children of divorce adapt to life's situations and relationships within normal ranges when compared to their peers (Armistead, Forehand, Summers, & Tannenbaum, 1998). Taking this into account, these researchers looked to peer relations, socioeconomic status, general distress, or poor parenting skills to explain the appearance of troublesome behavior or poor grades. The study of all aspects of divorce and attachment is important to how parents, psychologists and teachers approach and understand children of divorced families in order to help them reach their full potential as adults.

Overview of Attachment Theory

The attachment theory has a basis in three theoretical approaches and was first related to primate and infant-mother studies. The three approaches include a psychoanalytic approach, the social learning approach and the ethological theory of attachment (Ainsworth, 1969). Childhood attachment styles, which will be discussed later, are clearly based on the emotional bond between the parent and child, opposed to a biological push to become attached. A study on adopted children shows that positively formed attachments heighten the chance for a well-adjusted life, regardless of the biological relation of the attachment figure (Juffer, Stams & van IJzendoorn, 2002). "Even in a biologically unrelated group of parents and their adopted children from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds, early child-parent relationship characteristics played a significant role in shaping children's adjustment in middle childhood" (Juffer et al., 2002, p. 814).

Harlow (1958) found that infant monkeys became attached to surrogate mothers when away from their real mothers. The young monkeys preferred heated, cloth covered mothers to wire mothers at any stage of their development. These infant monkeys fared better in many aspects of their lives compared to others, who were provided with only a wire mother. Young primates were more likely to be better adjusted physically, psychologically and socially compared to the monkeys raised by the wire mother. Harlow concluded from his research that the primates are better off in their lives when given more creature comforts, attention and grooming when compared to those who were deprived of these elements (Harlow, 1958).

Harlow (1958) also states that the infant monkeys form a close bond, or attachment to their surrogate cloth mothers. These surrogate mothers are often used as a secure base when opportunities to venture and explore were presented. This was done in order to see how the infants adapted to the surroundings. These infants used their emotional bond to ensure that they would not be harmed when encountering new objects. Also, when a threatening stimulus was presented in this lab experiment, the monkeys retreated to the cloth mothers for safety. This correlates with Ainsworth's (1967) finding that infants in Uganda use their mothers as a secure base to explore, occasionally leaving her sights, but periodically returning to ensure themselves that she is still there.

Bowlby also conducted research on attachment, recognizing the undeniable bond between infants and their primary care givers. In a variety of cultures that have been studied, the majority of children ranging in age from nine months to one year old have exhibited strong attachment behavior towards their primary care giver. This trend continues until three to four years of age, where the attachment weakens slightly. Hopefully at this point, the child will be secure enough to briefly venture from the mother and begin to develop other interactions and attachments (Bowlby, 1969). The notion that attachment extends throughout the life of an individual is noted in sections of Ainsworth and Bowlby's literature. Bowlby states that over time, the attachment that infants have for their parents is subtly weakened. The degree to which it is weakened depends on the temperament of the child, which in turn determines how readily new attachment bonds are sought out and formed (Bowlby, 1969). Bowlby also researched the effect that temporary loss of the mother had on human infants, and his findings were expanded upon by the development of the Strange Situation Procedure. Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall (1978) solidified Bowlby's research on infants and developed three main attachment styles. These styles are based on Ainsworth's studies of temporary loss of the main attachment figure within a controlled lab setting. This research was called the Strange Situation Procedure. The results showcase the distinct attachment characteristics for each style. Avoidant infants focus their attention mainly on toys that are found around the research room, not directly on the mother. The children here appear to be independent and confidant, but there is intentional avoidance of the mother figure occurring. Once the mother is removed, these infants become detached and avoid the substitute caretaker. When returning, the infant continues to avoid the parent (Ainsworth et al., 1978). Secure infants are genuinely social and explorative within the environment. They are friendly to the mother and caretaker, although can be wary of strangers. Secure infants show signs of anger and sadness when the mother is removed, but eventually adjust to the absence. These infants are generally excited upon the return of the mother (Ainsworth et al., 1978). Lastly, the Anxious or Ambivalent pattern of behavior in infants shows signs of anxiety and hostility towards the parent. The Ambivalent infant is shows aggression toward the mother, but longs to be close to her at the same time. This behavior occurs both before and after the parent returns to the room (Ainsworth et al., 1978).

Hazan and Shaver (1987) continued this line of research and adapted the original attachment styles to patterns of attachment behavior in adult romantic relationships. The same three attachment styles remain true for adjustment and behavior in adult relationships (Hazan, & Shaver, 1987). The securely attached infants matured into adults that were more likely to experience balanced relationships of a desirable duration. The Avoidant infants grew up to have a few short relationships, if any at all. Ambivalent infants became adults who had frequent partners, but often to not allow themselves or their partner to establish the close bond that they would like to form.

Separation From an Attachment Figure


Marriage is a highly significant form of attachment bond that has negative consequences when broken. Ainsworth, Bowlby and Shaver all realized and supported the notion that as we grow older, we form new attachments with multiple important figures throughout our lives (Bowlby, 1969). For infants, it is only natural to form attachments with the people who care for them most, in regards to their physiological and emotional needs. As people mature, the old attachments are only severed after great strain, and new attachments are made along the way. New attachments can be friends, co-workers or romantic interests (Bowlby, 1969).

The effects of divorce on the adults who are engulfed in the situation tend to be as stressful as those found in the children. Weiss' (1976) work showed that the reaction of couples after divorce is similar to the core set of reactions of other examples where attachment is broken, including the reactions of children. Kobak (1999) refers to the Weiss study and states that the availability of an attachment figure in relationships is important to the strength of the bond. When this availability is broken, much like an enhanced Strange Situation Procedure for adults, the security of one spouse or the other is threatened. Berman (1988) noticed from his study of divorced couples, that there is often a strong sense of longing for the estranged partner, and a mourning of the loss is experienced. He also notes that there is a seemingly illogical mix of anger, resentment, and lingering positive feelings for the estranged spouse. Weiss (1976) explains by stating, "This persisting bond to the spouse resembles the attachment bond of children to parents described by Bowlby. Indeed it seems reasonable to surmise that the bond we observe to persist in unhappy marriages is an adult development of childhood attachment" (p. 138). Although the distress caused by divorce is great for both partners, it is easier to see how adults cope with the broken attachment because of their life experiences, maturity, and alternate sources of support. In contrast, children rely mainly on few attachment figures and often lack the coping skills that adults have refined.


Children usually lose a degree of contact with one of their very few attachment figures when a divorce occurs. It is a confusing and stressful time for children, regardless of whether the divorce was amicable or not. Booth, Clarke-Stewart, McCartney, Owen, & Vandell (2000) refer to various national studies when stating that poor school performance, low self-esteem, behavior problems, distress and adjustment difficulties are associated with divorce. In adolescents from divorced families they noted more instances of delinquent behavior, early sex activity and continued academic issues.

In contrast, there have also been comparable studies that detect no unusual behavior or emotional distress occurring from divorce (Armistead et al., 1998). For example, one study involved extensive questionnaires and concluded that the average scores attained from the children were within normal ranges when compared to children of intact families (Armistead et al., 1998). There are many factors that may play into how children's attachments are altered after a divorce, gender and age being the two most documented variables.

Children's Adjustment and the Factor of Age. The behavioral reaction of a child to divorce has been shown to correlate with the age group when the divorce or separation occurs. In a controversial study of divorced families, Blakeslee & Wallerstein (1989) state that most children have the same initial feelings. "When their family breaks up, children feel vulnerable, for they fear that their lifeline is in danger of being cut" (p.12). They then go on to discuss the age differences and how the stage at which divorce occurs can impact what behaviors may take place. Blakeslee and Wallerstein (1989) observed, "Little children often have difficulty falling asleep at bedtime or sleeping through the night. Older children may have trouble concentrating at school. Adolescents often act out and get into trouble. Men and women may become depressed or frenetic. Some throw themselves into sexual affairs or immerse themselves in work" (p. xii).

Booth et al. (2000) conducted wide sampling research and realized that the worst initial reactions and behaviors that occur close to the date of the divorce were by the youngest children. In a follow-up study 10 years after the divorce, however, the youngest children were adjusting to their new environments and interactions better than siblings who were older at the time of the divorce.

Children's Adjustment and the Factor of Sex. Gender difference between children in a divorce plays a very important role in how they adjust. This is true during the time of the divorce and has lasting effects in adult life. Multiple studies have agreed that boys and girls react differently to the reduced contact with a major attachment figure. Boys seem to have an especially difficult time with divorce, causing them to have trouble at school, withdraw from social interactions, or start fights with peers (Blakeslee & Wallerstein, 1989). However, Amato (2001) wrote a follow up study to his earlier meta-analysis findings. In this earlier study, behavior traits were ranked in children with divorced parents and observed negative behaviors. The current study emphasizes that differences are not unique to either boys or girls.

Amato and Keith (1991) found that the deficit in social adjustment associated with marital disruption was greater for boys than for girls. In the 1990s, divorce was associated with greater conduct problems among boys than girls. But the more general conclusion--in the earlier meta-analysis as well as in the present one--is that most of the disadvantages associated with divorce are similar for boys and girls.

These findings imply that the stress on the children is equal, although they may show it in differing ways. Amato's (2001) follow up study also goes to great lengths to show that current trends in gender differences are not as severe as they were once thought to be.

Children of Divorce: Outcomes

Short-term outcomes for children from divorced families seem to be troubled, but the outcome becomes increasingly optimistic as the children age and mature (Blakeslee & Wallerstein, 1989). The individuals who were interviewed by Wallerstein (1989) showed a strong desire to fix what their parents could not within their own adult lives. They wanted to have stable families and relationships, although many viewed this dream as idealistic, not realistic. "They fear betrayal. They fear abandonment. They fear loss. They draw an inescapable conclusion: Relationships have a high likelihood of being untrustworthy; betrayal and infidelity are probable" (Blakeslee & Wallerstein, 1989, p. 55). Regardless of the long term effects on these particular interviewees, Amato and Keith (1991) concluded after their own assessment that children of highly conflicted families who are not divorced fare worse over time than children with divorced parents. This shows that distance from an attachment figure may be better than living in a troubled environment.

Blakeslee and Wallerstein (1989) observed through their years of interviews with children of divorce an occurrence known as the Sleeper Effect. It is defined as, "a delayed reaction to an event that happened many years earlier" (Blakeslee & Wallerstein, 1989, p. 60). The Sleeper Effect is seen mostly in young women whose parents divorced while they were young children. As previously noted, boys are more likely to act out during the time of divorce, showing their aggression and anger at the situation (Amato and Keith, 1991). Girls on the other hand, seem to keep this frustration inside. This pent up emotion is theorized to show its effects later in the lives of these girls (Blakeslee & Wallerstein, 1989). Its effects are described as, "particularly dangerous because it occurs at the crucial time when many young women make decisions that have long-term implications for their lives. Suddenly overcome by fears and anxieties, they begin to make connections between these feelings and their parents' divorce" (Blakeslee & Wallerstein, 1989, p. 61).

Most attachment and divorce literature claims attachment is an integral part of the outcomes seen in children from divorced families. However, many of these sources also mention the presence of secondary factors such as income, mother's employment status, or peer relationships. These factors can also play a key role in determining how a child deals with divorce. For example, Booth et al (2000) summarize their results and say that during the early stages of life, it is perhaps most important that the available parent has good parenting skills. This, they say, is more important to the outcome of the child than the family structure, meaning that parenting practices have a greater effect on children than marital status. They mention that lack of education, depression, low income, and inadequate support from the mother leads to poor adjustment and behavior in young children. Many of these factors can be brought on by a divorce, such as lack of support or attention for children, depression and economic status. The fading stigma of divorce is another universal factor that has been observed to change the well being of these children. Contrary to the past, divorce is not viewed as a degrading occurrence, which once brought social exclusion, shame and the feeling of failure to family members. Similarly, the current volume has increased, and current divorces are not preceded by as much violence and anger as in the past (Amato, 2001).


The somewhat contrasting views in the preceding paper provide a solid, yet inconclusive basis for our understanding of how divorce affects families. Different views have been discussed, including the attachment theory and the effects of family environments. This research has uncovered a wealth of knowledge about how adults and children deal with loss and feelings of abandonment and insecurity. There were many common reactions to divorce that have been observed over these situations, including sadness, anger, insecurity, and lack of trust, which can lead to depression, conduct issues, or unrealistic relationship views. Regardless of these common findings, many children of divorce eventually learn to accept the past and look towards their futures. There are still many avenues that can be taken in the research techniques and literature surrounding divorce and children, but the detrimental findings of the 1970's seem to have faded, along with (and possibly because of) the social stigmas that have been linked to divorce.

Peer Commentary

The Breaking of a Family: Children on the Battlefield

Damien W. Cordero
Rochester Institute of Technology

Divorce has become so commonplace in America that it seems to have taken on its own sense of glamour. Few marriages in America these days actually last beyond a few years, because divorce has become such an accepted alternative to working out marital problems. Something important to consider is that although attachment style is very important and can be altered by the breaking up of a marriage, how is attachment style affected in these children by enduring parental struggles? Two important factors to consider in attachment style are (a) how much a child is affected when parents who despise each other "stay together for the kids," and (b) how much a child's attachment style is affected when a legal battle that the child has no control over determines his or her fate. A healthy attachment style may not always be brought about by parents remaining together or by the most responsible parent gaining custody of the child.

This paper, though thorough in its research on attachment style and its importance, puts divorce in a negative light as something that generally causes problems within the child despite age. It is important, however, to note the positive effects that divorce may potentially have on children and attachment style. Early on, children develop a sense of how relationships are formed and how they are maintained by simple observation of their parents. Although the parents may not realize they are being watched like hawks, the children's sense of relationship and attachment is formed by their interactions with each other. Those parents who are very loving and open allow their disposition to show through and it is therefore picked up on by the child.

If marital discourse is allowed to show through to the child, however, attachment style may be affected and altered negatively as well. If, at a young age, the child is subjected to excessive parental arguing or perhaps spousal abuse, these observations will translate into the child's ideas of what attachment truly is. This is to say that studies have shown that children subjected to parental violence at a young age are more likely to continue this violence into their own relationships, as this is what has been learned in their life. Alhtough divorce can often play an overwhelmingly negative role in attachment style and happiness, sometimes when a child is stuck on the battlefield created by the parents, it is a better alternative to feel loved by one parent than by none. These interactions could serve to alter relationship and attachment more negatively than divorce.

It is also important to discuss the outcome of divorce and how it affects children's attachment style. Often times, divorces end in ugly custody battles between the parents. During this time, the parents being terribly selfish as to who is most responsible often forget they are being observed at all times. Divorce is hard enough on a young child; suddenly the family is no longer together, and it is a very confusing time. Attachment style can be even more afflicted by court battles in which the child has no control over whom he or she goes with. Not only are children seeing a terrible side of their parents, to whom they were initially attached, but also it becomes a reality for them that they are going to lose one of them as well. This serves to alter attachment style negatively. When a child is disallowed to see a certain parent, what does the child have to look forward to? The attachment that the child has developed over the years is meaningless, as the child has no control over whom he or she can or cannot be attached to. This could lead to negative attachment style resulting in no attachment style at all. Taking these ideas and exploring the further effects of divorce or "staying together for the kids" could serve to reinforce the research on attachment style.

Peer Commentary

Bowlby's Ethological Theory: The Beginning of Attachment

Jacqueline L. Hintz
Rochester Institute of Technology

Attachment style in early childhood does indeed have an impact on how children will react to divorce. Their attachment style is often assessed in the strange situation, as Eagan discussed. I was curious to know, however, just exactly how the attachment bond formed in the first place. John Bowlby, in his study of attachment in infancy and toddlerhood, devised the ethological theory, which explained the sequence of events in attachment development. According to Bowlby (1969), the human infant is born with a set of built-in behaviors that keep the parents close to the baby and protect him or her from harm. He believed that the attachment bond has strong biological roots and that feeding is not necessarily the source of attachment between caregiver and baby. Instead, the bond is formed in response to the behaviors and signals of the baby, which prompt the parents to respond. Bowlby proposed that attachment developed in four phases:

  1. The preattachment phase: This phase takes place within the first 6 weeks after birth. Babies display a wide variety of signals (grasping, smiling, crying, and gazing into the eyes of the caregiver) that cause the caregiver to respond, thus forming a bond. Infant encourage the caregiver to remain close to them or to pick them up and hold them, pat them, or talk softly to them. The infant gets to know the smell and voice of the caregiver, and because they have not formed a close attachment yet, the presence of an unfamiliar adult does not upset them.

  2. The "attachment in the making" phase: This phase runs from about 6 weeks to 8 months. A difference is seen in the ways infant act toward the caregiver and toward an unfamiliar stranger. Infants interact more positively with their caregiver by laughing and by quieting when they are picked up. The response of the caregiver and other familiar adults makes infants realize that their actions affect others around them. Because of this realization, a sense of trust develops. Even with this trust, however, the baby still will not protest when separated from the caregiver.

  3. The phase of "clear-cut" attachment: This phase occurs between 6 months and 2 years. Evidence of attachment to the caregiver is now clear. When the adult must leave, the baby easily becomes upset. This is termed separation anxiety and is accompanied by crying, protesting, and withdrawing from strangers. When the adult returns, the baby will approach the adult and climb all over him or her. The baby also uses the adult as a secure base, to which to return from time to time for emotional support after exploring the environment.

  4. Formation of a reciprocal relationship: This phase can occur anywhere from 18 months on. By the end of 2 years, the child has developed language and representation. This allows the child to understand that the parent must leave, and that eventually the parent will return. Separation anxiety decreases dramatically during this time. Also, the child will no longer cling to the parent when he or she returns but will negotiate with the parent instead.

Bowlby believed that out of these four stages come a close bond to the caregiver that can also be used as a secure base when the parent is not around. He called this the internal working model, or the set of expectations about the availability of attachment figures and how the child will react under stress when in need of an attachment figure. These internal working models tie in to what Eagan discussed in her paper concerning different kinds of attachment styles. The strange situation can then be put into action to determine what type of attachment style the child has.

Peer Commentary

The Decision to Divorce: A Socio-Psychological View of Reasons Other Than Attachment Separation

Jaclyn E. Siebel
Rochester Institute of Technology

Although "Attachment and Divorce: Family Consequences" by Christina E. Eagan discusses the emotional effects of separation from an attachment figure as seen through various strands of attachment theory, there lacked discussion as to why such separations are prone to occur in society and why they have done so more frequently over the last 40 years. In addition, although the types of attachments formed early in life can influence subsequent attachments on into adulthood, new research suggests that the long-term correlation between early and later attachment is low-to-moderate at best. Thus, it is apparent that many other social factors shape the quality of adult marital relationships, as seen in macro- and micro-levels of societal perspective, and it is these factors that might considerably affect decisions to divorce.

Sundry factors associated with society at large are correlated with changing divorce rates. First among these macro-level factors is that of variations in divorce laws. Whereas divorce used to be hard to obtain because of the nature of the law itself--that one parent had to file suite against the other and the cases filed needed to consist of an extreme measure that made the marriage unbearable in the eyes of the courts--during the 1960s, amendments created the "No-Fault" divorce ruling. This allowed couples with irreconcilable differences to end their marriages more easily. This correlates with the fact that society has changed considerably its views and attitudes towards divorce over the last 45 years (Nakonezny, Shall, & Rodgers, 1995). These attitudes have changed because divorce has become more common. As divorce becomes less controversial, unhappy couples who feel marriage might solve their problems view marriage more as a "semi-permanent" situation and view divorce as "ending a bad decision." In other words, if partners enter into marriage with the idea that it might end, it is more likely to do so (Nakonezny, Shall, & Rodgers, 1995).

Other factors considered to be social cues to the reasons for divorce include variations in cultural norms and changes in women's employment options. Traditionally, women were dependent on men's ability to support and sustain a marriage and/or family financially. Over the past 60 years, however, an explosion occured in employment of women, especially women with children. This change enabled females more easily to support themselves financially; thus, the desire to rely on a male counterpart diminished. This factor also correlates with a variation in cultural norms. Given that America is a melting pot of cultures, it is apparent in cross-cultural studies that men are more likely to adhere to traditional family values, where as women are more likely to adopt the mainstream views of society, especially on the topic of financial providers in a marriage. This differing view can become a major needle in the pincushion of marriage--and this can often lead to divorce (Nakonezny, Shall, & Rodgers, 1995).

In accordance with these levels of societal influence, there are also several individual influences within the socio-psychological perspective on divorce that conclude that several micro-level factors are much stronger influences than attachment relationships. Research has shown that persons whose parents have divorced are themselves more likely to divorce. This is because of the negative long term consequences associated with divorce in children and their ability to learn and model their own parents' behaviors. In relation to this fact, age at marriage has been correlated with divorce rates. The higher the divorce rate, the younger the age at marriage. It seems that these marriages were rushed into without previous cohabitation or planning and so were less successful (Waite & Gallagher, 2000). Additionally, the presence of children in the family situation as well as how similar the partners are to one another correlate with the decision of divorce. Couples who have children are less likely to divorce. This does not mean, however, that these marriages are happy. People seem to stay in unfulfilling relationships and marriages because they feel that it is best for their children, though it is not necessarily best for them (Waite & Gallagher, 2000). Though this might have beneficial results for the children, it has also been seen as a reason for later year divorces, those that occur much later in the course of the marriage.

Although children can sometimes prevent divorce from occurring, research shows that similarity between the partners in a marriage is by far the most conclusive factor in the decision to divorce. When spouses have similar socioeconomic characteristics, they are much less likely to divorce. Such similarities include age, religion, ethnicity, social status, and income. Couples who share a great deal of dissimilarities face increased stressors and complications because of the variations between one another. They may have different morals and values with respect to relationships. Financial and ethnicity stressors can also cause marital complications (Warner & Seccombe, 2003).

Thus, although attachment theories may represent one view on the correlation between relationships formed in childhood and adulthood and how these attachments affect and react to divorce, there are other views, including socio-psychological factors that seem to be more prevalent in the correlation between society, personality, and divorce decisions. These factors exhibit correlations between societal influences and individual variations that can cause decisions to divorce, and although there are correlations between attachment styles and divorce effects, they do not explain the reasons for decisions to divorce.

Author Response

Attachment Theory or Socio-Psychological Theories? More Research Needed

Cristina E. Eagan
Rochester Institute of Technology

All three peer commentaries added to the understanding of the aspects of attachment and divorce that affect families worldwide. Cordero gave insight to how the social stigma that was once tied to divorce is no longer as major a contributing factor to the outcomes of children. This commentary implied that the original paper cast a one-sided negative light on divorce, when in reality it was an analysis of research that has been conducted over time. The earlier research stated that children of divorce were negatively affected, as was shown in their behaviors. It was also mentioned, however, that more current studies show that children of divorce are not as maladapted as researchers once would have had us think. This commentary goes through and explains different situational experiences that might arise in divorce, which is a great addition to the text. Use of the term "attachment style," however, does not coincide with the use within the original paper. The commentary uses the term as if it were synonymous with the child's end behaviors and assumes that divorce can therefore alter (or eliminate?) the "attachment style." In the original paper, I used the term to describe the predisposition to certain behaviors and how this can then determine the child's adjustment to either the strange situation procedure or divorce, which is a very different usage from that of the peer commentary.

The second commentary by Hintz goes in depth about how attachment bonds are formed from the infant's first 6 weeks to about 2 years of age. I was especially interested to read about the formation of the reciprocal relationship, because it is the beginning of the time during which the child would be consciously interested and aware of the parent. This is a great addition to the understanding of the attachment process and provides a stronger platform for the discussion on how this bond can be affected in the event of a separation or divorce.

Lastly, Siebel expanded on socio-psychological views on divorce that were only briefly mentioned in the original text. This discussion gives a worthy counter-opinion to the older notion that only attachment bonds have an effect on divorce. This commentary accurately depicts where we are today in this research and gives an overview of the social environment that has fostered the growth of divorce in recent years. The view depicted in this commentary is closest to my own, although it was not discussed in great depth within the context of the paper.

All three commentaries added a great amount of information that highlights the strengths of the paper and addresses the weaknesses to give readers greater understanding of the topic. The main need that I see after completing this paper is that there is more research needed to address each aspect of divorce so that all theories can be compared, not just attachment theory.


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