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An exploration of how parental divorce/separation may affect a child’s internal world during latency/middle childhood: A mixed methods design

Heider, Donia; (2020) An exploration of how parental divorce/separation may affect a child’s internal world during latency/middle childhood: A mixed methods design. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The primary aim of the current thesis was to gain an understanding of how divorce/separation is experienced by children during the period of latency/middle childhood. This was explored from three perspectives; firstly, from the child’s perspective through the following investigations: (a) Children’s caregiver/attachment representations were evaluated quantitatively using the Story Stem Assessment Profile (SSAP) and comparisons were made between children from separated (n = 29) and non-separated families (n = 39); (b) a topic-relevant story stem was developed to target the experience of parental separation and to inform the current thesis about children’s internal representations post-divorce, whilst determining its psychometric robustness; and, (c) a projective qualitative measure was developed and administered to children from separated families (n = 28). Secondly, divorced co-parents in conflict (n = 9) completed The Parent Development Interview (PDI) which was analysed qualitatively to explore features of their reflective functioning (RF). The PDIs provided the current thesis with an indirect examination of the latency-age child’s internal world post-divorce. Thirdly, Online Focus Groups (OFG) were conducted with schoolteachers (n = 10) and qualitatively analysed. This provided another perspective from a close attachment figure, in order to attain an indirect examination of the latency-age child’s internal world post-divorce. The current thesis offers a preliminary foundation from which these multiple perspectives and their convergence with one another, demonstrate the need for future studies into the internal experience of latency-age children post-divorce.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: An exploration of how parental divorce/separation may affect a child’s internal world during latency/middle childhood: A mixed methods design
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
Keywords: divorce, middle childhood, parents, children, latency, attachment, psychoanalysis, separation, parental separation, separated parents, marriage, couple
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10110394
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