An analysis of schema theory and learning theory as explanations for variance in adolescent adjustment to divorce

Watson, Nichola Marianne (2003-03)

Thesis (MA)--University of Stellenbosch, 2003.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The primary aim of this study was to identify factors contributing to the adjustment of adolescents whose parents are divorced. Learning theory and schema theory were evaluated as possible explanations for the variance found in the adjustment of these adolescents. The secondary aim of the study was to research the possibility of attitude to divorce acting as a mediator between the parent-adolescent relationship and adolescent adjustment (a possibility suggested by schema theory). Self-report questionnaires were completed by first year Psychology and Economics students at Stellenbosch University. 293 students completed the questionnaires, but as only 39 of these students came from divorced families, 38 of the data sets from students with married parents were randomly selected for use in the study. Respondents completed Antonovsky's Life Orientation Questionnaire (measuring adjustment); Hudson's CAM and CAF questionnaires (measuring relationships with mother and father, respectively); and a set of questions measuring attitude to divorce; as well as a biographical questionnaire. The results showed only limited evidence for attitude to divorce acting as a mediator between the parent-adolescent relationship and adolescent adjustment. Schema theory is therefore not supported conclusively, although further research is recommended. Results did, however, support learning theory as an adequate explanation for the positive correlations found between parent-adolescent relationships and adolescent adjustment. Knowledge of the importance of learning theory in explaining adolescent adjustment can increase parents' awareness of their influence on their children's adjustment. This knowledge can also be used in the design of therapeutic programmes for families going through divorce.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die hoofdoelstelling van hierdie ondersoek was om faktore te indentifiseer wat bydra tot die aanpassing van adolessente wie se ouers geskei is. Leerteorie en skemateorie is geevalueer as moontlike verkJarings vir die variansie in die aanpassing van die adolessente. 'n Sekondere doel was om die moontlikheid te ondersoek dat die adolessent se houding teenoor egskeiding 'n rol kan speeI in die ouer-adolessent verhouding en die aanpassmg van die adolessent (die moontlikheid voIg uit skemateorie). Selfrapporteringsvraelyste is deur onderskeidelik eerstejaar studente in Sielkunde en Ekonomie aan die Universiteit van Stellenbosch voltooi. 293 studente het die vraelyste voltooi, maar omdat net 39 van hierdie studente uit geskeide gesinne gekom het, is 38 studente met getroude ouers in die ondersoek ingesluit. Studente het Antonovsky se Lewensorientasievraelys (wat aanpassing meet); Hudson se CAM en CAF-vraelyste (wat verhoudings met die rna en pa meet); en 'n stel vrae wat houding teenoor egskeiding meet; sowel as 'n biografiese vraelys voltooi. Beperkte bewys is gevind vir die moontlikheid dat houding teenoor egskeiding bemiddelend optree tussen die oueradolessent verhouding en die aanpassing van die adolessent. Skemateorie kon gevolglik nie bewys word nie, alhoewel verdere ondersoeke aanbeveel word. Die resultate ondersteun leerteorie as 'n goeie verduideliking vir die positiewe korrelasie wat bestaan tussen ouer-adolessent verhouding en die adolessent se aanpassing. Kennis van die belangrikheid van leerteorie as verduideliking vir die aanpassing van adolessente beklemtoon die beJangrike invloed wat die ouers se aanpassing op hul k.inders se aanpassing het. Die kennis kan ook gebruik word in die ontwerp van terapeutiese programme vir gesinne wat egskeiding beleef.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/53255
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