The nature and the extent of the relationships divorced men maintain with their first families

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The nature and the extent of the relationships divorced men maintain with their first families
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Tropf, Walter David, 1927-
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Divorced women   ( lcsh )
Divorced fathers   ( lcsh )
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Thesis:
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1980.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 164-167).
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by Walter David Tropf.
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Typescript.
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Vita.

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THE NATURE AND THE EXTENT OF THE RELATIONSHIPS DIVORCED
MEN MAINTAIN WITH THEIR FIRST FAMILIES










By

WALTER DAVID TROPF


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY






UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


1980













ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


One aspect of academic research that is seldom mentioned in

the textbooks is the number of people who become peripherally

involved in a research project, either because of their proximity

to the researcher or because of the variety of support services

needed to carry out the project. A very important part of this

latter group was the nine University of Central Florida students

who assisted in gathering the data. Their enthusiasm for the

project was encouraging and their tenacity in tracking down poten-

tial respondents engendered trust. They deserve to be mentioned by

name--Suzette Morris, Stacy Daughn, Joe Cravens, Lee Deese Walls,

Sandra Hatley, Beverly Tandy, Larry Murray, LaNita Knight Edourd

and Debbie Comer. Debbie deserves honorable mention for conducting

extra interviews and fielding phone calls following the newspaper

story. The assistance given by Tom Ticknor at the UCF Computer

Center was also vital in entering and extracting the data from the

computer once they were obtained.

At the University of Florida each member of my committee made

significant contributions to my education, both in the classroom

and in helping me prepare for qualifying exams. To Felix Berardo,

Gerald Leslie, Gordon Streib, Rod Webb, and earlier, Ben Gorman I

express my appreciation. In addition, the sound advice and patient

editing of my chairman, Wilbur Bock, were a necessary adjunct to

the successful completion of my dissertation.










While whatever academic credit which may accrue to this report

must be shared with those mentioned above, the necessary encourage-

ment and understanding have come from family and friends. To my

parents, who encouraged reading, fostered curiosity and never

flinched from the impact of new knowledge even when it ran contrary

to long held beliefs, I owe more than can be expressed.

A project of this magnitude would never have been started

without the encouragement and support of Annabelle and the children.

For their faith, and not inconsiderable sacrifices, I am truly

grateful.

Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to our many

friends, both in academia and out, who have expressed an interest

in my studies, tolerated my preoccupation and provided encouragement

to continue. I particularly want to mention the Evans family who

served as my hosts for the five quarters I needed a second home in

Gainesville. Their warmth and hospitality will be long remembered.















TABLE OF CONTENTS


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. . .

LIST OF TABLES. . .

ABSTRACT. . .

CHAPTER

I STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM .

II THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK. .

Role Conflict. .
Social Structure and Deviance.

III REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE .

Major Studies. .
Minor Studies. .
Summary. . .

IV RESEARCH METHOD. .

The Questionnaire .
Operational Definitions. .
Data Analysis .

V DESCRIPTION OF THE SAMPLE. .

Characteristics of the Sample.
Personal Contacts. .
Child Support. ... ..
Relationships Between Divorced
Their Ex-Wives .. ....
Attitudes of the Present Wife.


Satisfaction with Post-Divorce
Pre-Divorce Paternal Role Perfo
Cause of Divorce .
Natural Father Versus Stepfathe
Responsibility .. ....
Sub-Sample Differences .


Page

ii

vi

viii


Fathers and


Fathering
romance as a

r
. .
. .


. .


. .
. .
.

. .











TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued)


Page


Summary Description of the Dependent and
Independent Variables . .

VI DATA ANALYSIS AND TEST OF THE HYPOTHESES ..

Test of the First Hypothesis . .
Test of the Second Hypothesis. . .
Test of the Third Hypothesis . .

VII DISCUSSION . . .

Personal Contacts and Child Support .
Visiting and Support Arrangements. .
Custody and Living Arrangements. .

VIII SUMMARY AND EVALUATION . .

Problems in the Research . .
Validity of the Findings . .
Findings in Relation to Theory . .
New Areas for Study and Investigation. .

APPENDIX A ORIGINAL LETTER TO RESPONDENTS .

APPENDIX B MODIFIED LETTER TO RESPONDENTS. .

APPENDIX C QUESTIONNAIRE . .

APPENDIX D DESCRIPTION OF RESPONDENTS BY SELECTED
VARIABLES . . .

APPENDIX E DATA CONCERNING DURATION AND FREQUENCY
OF VISITS . . .

REFERENCES . . .......

BIOGRAPHY . . .


80

83

83
93
96

99

99
107
111

113

115
117
118
120

125

128

131


156


160

164

168














LIST OF TABLES


Table Page

1 LENGTH AND FREQUENCY OF VISITING BY
MARITAL STATUS. . ... 44

2 FREQUENCY OF MAIL AND PHONE CONTACTS BY
MARITAL STATUS. . ... 46

3 RESPONSE OF DIVORCED FATHER TO CHILD'S AND
EX-WIFE'S REQUEST FOR EXTRA MONEY BY
MARITAL STATUS. . ... 52

4 DIVORCED FATHER'S RELATIONSHIP WITH EX-WIFE AT
TIME OF DIVORCE AND AT TIME OF INTERVIEW. 54

5 EX-WIFE'S SUPPORT OF DIVORCED FATHER'S
RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS CHILDREN. ... 56

6 NATURE OF THE DISCUSSION BETWEEN DIVORCED FATHER
AND EX-WIFE REGARDING THEIR CHILDREN AT THE
TIME OF THE DIVORCE AND THE TIME OF THE
INTERVIEW. . .... 58

7 NATURE OF THE DISCUSSION BETWEEN DIVORCED FATHER
AND EX-WIFE REGARDING THEMSELVES AT THE
TIME OF THE DIVORCE AND THE TIME OF THE
INTERVIEW. . . .. 60

8 REASON GIVEN FOR CHANGE IN DISCUSSIONS BETWEEN
EX-SPOUSES CONCERNING CHILDREN ... 63

9 REASON GIVEN FOR CHANGE IN DISCUSSION BETWEEN
EX-SPOUSES CONCERNING SELVES .... .64

10 ATTITUDES OF PRESENT WIFE TOWARD THE CONTACTS
WITH FIRST CHILDREN AT TIME OF REMARRIAGE AND
AT TIME OF INTERVIEW . ... 68

11 ATTITUDES OF PRESENT WIFE TOWARD THE MONEY SPENT
ON FIRST CHILDREN AT TIME OF REMARRIAGE AND
AT TIME OF INTERVIEW . .. 69











LIST OF TABLES (Continued)


Table

12 ATTITUDES OF PRESENT WIFE TOWARD CONTACTS
DIVORCED MAN HAS WITH EX-WIFE AT TIME OF
REMARRIAGE AND AT TIME OF INTERVIEW. .


Page



70


13 EFFECT OF DIVORCE ON THE SATISFACTION OF
THE FATHER'S PERFORMANCE IN FIVE
PATERNAL ROLES. . .. 73

14 CHILD REARING PRACTICES AS A CAUSE OF DIVORCE
FOR FIVE PATERNAL ROLES . .... .76

15 AMOUNT OF RESPONSIBILITY THE NATURAL FATHER
ASSIGNS TO SELF AND STEPFATHER FOR FIVE
PATERNAL ROLES. . .... 78

16 SUB-SAMPLE DIFFERENCES IN VISITING FREQUENCY
AT DIVORCE. . . ... 88

17 FREQUENCY OF VISITS BY MARITAL STATUS
CONTROLLING FOR DISTANCE . .. 89

18 ARRANGEMENTS FOR VISITING BY RELIGION ...... .95

19 NUMBER OF FATHERS HAVING CUSTODY OF ONE OR MORE
OF THEIR CHILDREN BY SOCIAL CLASS ... .97

20 NUMBER OF FATHERS HAVING CHILDREN LIVE WITH
THEM BY SOCIAL CLASS. . .... 97

21 DESCRIPTION OF RESPONDENTS BY SELECTED
VARIABLES . .... 156

22 NUMBER OF FATHERS VISITING THEIR CHILDREN
FOLLOWING SEPARATION BY DURATION AND
FREQUENCY . .... 160


23 NUMBER OF FATHERS VISITING THEIR CHILDREN
FOLLOWING DIVORCE BY DURATION AND
FREQUENCY . .... ..

24 NUMBER OF FATHERS VISITING THEIR CHILDREN
FOLLOWING OWN REMARRIAGE BY DURATION AND
FREQUENCY . .

25 NUMBER OF FATHERS VISITING THEIR CHILDREN
FOLLOWING REMARRIAGE OF EX-SPOUSE BY
DURATION AND FREQUENCY. . .


163













Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy


THE NATURE AND THE EXTENT OF THE RELATIONSHIPS DIVORCED
MEN MAINTAIN WITH THEIR FIRST FAMILIES

By

Walter David Tropf

December 1980

Chairman: E. Wilbur Bock
Major Department: Sociology

This study examines the relationships that continue between

father and child and between ex-spouses after divorce. A conven-

ience sample was used consisting of 101 men. The better educated,

white Protestant predominated with Protestants being in the majority

across all social classes.

Based on an assumption of post-divorce normlessness and a

review of the literature on role conflict and social structure,

three hypotheses were developed for testing. The first predicted

that personal father-child contacts and voluntary child support

would decrease with the remarriage of either ex-spouse.

The second hypothesis predicted that the way in which arrange-

ments for child support and visiting were made at the time of the

divorce would depend on the ex-wife's satisfaction with pre-divorce

paternal role performance. If paternal role performance was not an

issue in the divorce, arrangements for support and visiting would

viii










more likely be derived by mutual consent. If performance was an

issue, arrangements would more likely be negotiated by a third party.

The third hypothesis predicted that middle class fathers would

be more likely to have custody, or have their children living with

them, than either upper class or lower class fathers.

From chi-square analysis, statistically significant decreases

in visiting frequency were found after the remarriage of either

ex-spouse (P < .05). The decrease was greater following the remar-

riage of the ex-wife. Frequency of mail and phone contacts remained

relatively stable with phone contacts increasing slightly after the

remarriage of the ex-wife. Voluntary contributions for support

increased after the remarriage of the father but decreased after the

remarriage of the ex-wife.

An examination of 11 other variables showed that the decline

in visiting after remarriage was consistent. Only geographic dis-

tance reached significance as an intervening variable. Those men

living closer to their children visited more frequently than those

living over 150 miles away (P < .01 at the remarriage of the father

and P < .001 at the remarriage of the ex-wife). Other variables

which showed indications of negative influences on visiting were

lower class standing, being Protestant, being delinquent in ordered

support payments and the ex-wife opposing visiting.

Child support arrangements were negotiated by a third party in

79% of the cases while third party negotiations for visiting

occurred in 37% of the cases. In neither case did pre-divorce










paternal role performance have an effect on how these arrangements

were made.

Two intervening variables influenced how visiting arrangements

were made. Catholics used third party intervention more frequently

than Protestants (P < .05). Middle class fathers arranged visiting

by mutual consent more frequently than lower class fathers (NS).

Middle class men were found more likely to have custody of

their children or have their children living with them, than either

upper or lower class men. The custody finding was significant

(P < .05) and the living arrangement finding approached significance

(P = .08). Although not significant, Catholics were less likely to

have custody or have a child living with them than Protestants.

From the data pertaining to the second hypothesis and an exam-

ination of the literature on role bargaining, an additional hypothe-

sis was developed predicting that heavily sanctioned roles are more

likely to be negotiated through institutionalized means than by

mutual consent. Further research is suggested to test the prediction.














CHAPTER I

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM


Since World War II the problem of divorce has attracted an

increasing amount of attention as both the public and those

affected began to struggle with the meaning of marital separation

for individuals and society at large. In addition to the investi-

gations of the social scientist, contributors to the literature

have included judges and attorneys, social workers, other helping

professionals and the participants themselves. This growing

interest in divorce has resulted in a spate of personal accounts,

legal and tax advice, economic studies and counseling books as well

as the formation of Parents Without Partners. This group, organ-

ized in 1958 as a self-help group to assist divorced parents in

their struggle against the isolation imposed by society on the

divorced person, has proved to be an important source of informa-

tion (Bernard, 1971, p. 9; Weiss, 1975, p. x).

Sell (1978) has compiled a comprehensive bibliography of all

divorce related literature published in the United States from 1970

to 1978. He has classified this literature into 21 different cate-

gories, indicative of the wide variety of disciplines and publics

interested in this topic.

For the family sociologist the foundation of divorce research

has been the social-demographic study. The primary thrust of these









2

studies is the examination of such variables as length of marriage,

age at marriage, education, occupation, residence, religion and

race as factors relating to the occurrence of divorce. Typical

of post-World War II studies of this nature are Jacobsen (1950),

Ackerman (1963), Bernard (1966) and Bumpass and Sweet (1972). The

findings have been remarkably consistent and have succeeded in

isolating significant variables of importance. Their usefulness

was considerably enhanced by the Bumpass and Sweet research which

made use of multi-variate analysis to shed light on the relative

importance of these variables.

One aspect of divorce that has received relatively little

attention is the continuing relationship between ex-spouses, and

between father and child, after marital separation. The purpose of

this paper is to examine these post-divorce relationships. The

basic assumptions on which the examination will be made are that

norms are lacking to help ex-spouses define post-divorce roles,

that this normlessness will produce role conflict and that existing

social structures make it difficult to experiment with new roles.

Based on these assumptions a theoretical framework will be

developed from which hypotheses will be constructed for testing.

This will be followed by a review of the literature on post-divorce

relationships and behaviors which might yield information pertaining

to the assumptions and the hypotheses. Succeeding chapters will

deal with the methods employed for gathering the data, a discus-

sion of the findings, the data analysis and test of the hypotheses,









3

a discussion of the analysis and a summary and evaluation of the

study.














CHAPTER II

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK


The assumption that few norms exist to assist former family

members in establishing functional relationships after divorce has

had considerable acceptance among social scientists who have been

students of family life. It has been noted that institutional

structures do not exist to order relationships between ex-spouses,

between noncustodial parents and children or between divorced per-

sons and the larger kin network and the community (Goode, 1965;

Bohannen, 1971; Mead, 1971). Goode in particular has pointed out

that the kinship structure has been ambiguous concerning the rights

of divorced persons to material or emotional support, re-admission

to the former kinship structure, the formation of new families and

the proper behavior of ex-spouses to each other (pp. 8-15). He also

suggests that this failure to institutionalize post-divorce posi-

tions functions to encourage a rapid resumption of marital status

by making divorced persons uncomfortable with positions so lacking

in role specificity (pp. 206-208).

The second assumption follows from the first. It is that this

lack of role prescriptions to guide post-divorce relationships will

produce conflict between occupants of post-divorce statuses.

The third assumption is that those few social structures that

do exist may no longer be seen as functional by some occupants of












post-divorce statuses; however, the existence of these structures

will serve to prohibit experimentation with new role definitions

which might prove to be more satisfying.

Although several post-divorce statuses will be considered in

this study the one of primary interest is the divorced male as

father. It has been suggested that the normative order for paternal

behavior varies from culture to culture and has changed over time

in contrast to maternal roles which are seen as invariant in both

time and space. Little research has been devoted to paternal roles

and what has been done is based on information collected from

mothers and children rather than from the fathers themselves.

Nevertheless, the father role has been observed to be deteriorating

in Western culture and divorce is a potential threat to that role

(Benson, 1968, pp. 3-22; Lynn, 1974, pp. 5-12). Following divorce

the obligations attendant upon this role must be fulfilled from a

distance both physical and social in nature. Thus the obligations

assumed by the individual father become more difficult to fulfill.

Two theoretical conceptions seem to offer a base from which

hypotheses can be developed to examine post-divorce behavior. One

is found in the literature pertaining to role conflict and role

bargaining and the second in the literature pertaining to social

structure and deviance. These three concepts (role conflict, role

bargaining and social structure) will be discussed and their connec-

tion to post-divorce behavior explained. From these discussions

hypotheses for testing will be developed.


__











Role Conflict

Most of the research concerning role conflict has been con-

ducted within bureaucratic structures (Kahn, Wolfe, Quinn, Snoeck,

& Rosenthal, 1964, p. vii). The delineation of significant con-

cepts can be found in these studies as well as the theoretical

studies which preceded them. While role conflict can come from

several sources and be of varying types, basic to all role conflict

is the fact that various members of a role set can hold differing

expectations of the requirements of a given role.

Goode (1960) suggests that the norms of society are not a suf-

ficient guide for individual action. Continuity in social roles

can be affected by variations in social class, conflicts over values

and ideals, disagreement over the interpretation of obligations and

changes in social position. In addition to problems of continuity,

conflict can arise over the allocation of resources to a given role

or the role may have conflict inherent in it. He concludes that

the total number of role obligations for any one person will always

exceed his available resources.

This is also supported by Merton (1957) who has discussed the

conflict inherent in role-sets which he defines as the complement of

role relationships attached to a particular status. That is, an

actor in any one of his roles will have a number of people with

whom he will engage in mutual interaction and each person will make

his own particular demands upon the actor. Merton proposes, as does

Goode, that conflict is residual in such structures.











Role conflict for the divorced man can assume particular

significance over time. When first divorced the number of role

obligations lessens. He is no longer a husband. In fact he may,

in the initial post-divorce period, increase his parental role com-

mitments and spend more time with his children than before (Weiss,

1975, pp. 187-198). Differing expectations concerning his paternal

role can come from a multitude of others besides the expectations

of self, ex-wife, and children. Significant others in the situation

could consist of family on both sides as well as a whole array of

new relationships as both ex-wife and divorced father add to their

role sets through remarriage. For the divorced father the poten-

tial accumulation of new role obligations is quite high. Beyond

new role obligations the potential number of people peripherally

involved outside of his role-sets can become even higher (Bohannen,

1970, pp. 132-137). For example, if a divorced father wishes to

have his children for a summer visit he may have to take into

consideration the plans of his ex-wife and her husband, his

ex-wife's stepchildren and their mother and the new children of his

ex-wife and her husband. On his side he may have to consider the

plans of his new wife, his stepchildren, the new children of the

present marriage and his new wife's ex-husband plus the ex-husband's

new wife and their children. That these new relationships are

likely to exist is not imaginative. Studies indicate that the

median length of time between divorce and remarriage is now approx-

imately three years and that four out of five persons of middle











age will remarry after their first divorce (Current Population

Reports, 1976).

The stresses imposed by conflicting expectations, the accumula-

tion of additional role obligations, inadequate resources and lack

of time are not limited to the divorced father. The ex-wife has

to cope with a variety of instrumental and expressive roles which

have been vacated by the ex-husband, some of which she may be

ill-prepared to fulfill (Bogue, 1949, p. 212; Weiss, 1975, pp. 167-

187).

When conflict becomes sufficiently great to preclude adequate

role performance steps will be taken to resolve it. Many accommoda-

tions can be made to reduce strain and resolve conflict but one

alternative, which is consistently referred to in the literature,

is some form of role reduction or role abandonment (Buchard, 1954;

Getzels & Guba, 1954; Goode,1960; Shaw & Constanzo, 1970; Stouffer,

1949; Thibaut & Faucheux, 1964; Toby, 1964; Wardell, 1955). Goode

suggests two basic ways in which roles can be reduced. One is by

manipulating the number of roles and the other is by bargaining

between roles. One method of manipulation is the elimination of

the role through the establishment of techniques to keep others

from continuing the role relationship.

However, eliminating a role and negotiating a new role through

bargaining are quite different solutions to the problem of role

conflict. One is essentially negative while the other at least

includes the possibility of mutually acceptable role re-definitions.











A further examination of each of these potential courses of action

as they relate to divorced fathers will lead to the formulation of

two hypotheses predicting how some post-divorce role conflicts may

be resolved.


Role Elimination

The increase in the family role obligations of the divorced man

is a function of remarriage and may include those of husband, step-

father and new father. With each additional obligation, the avail-

able resources for allocation as father to his first children are

reduced. Subject to external pressures to reduce his obligations

to his first children and subject to whatever internal demands to

fulfill those obligations he may feel, reduction or abandonment of

his role or the use of techniques to keep others from continuing the

relationship are possible alternatives.

At the same time his ex-wife and the children may be adding

role obligations as she remarries and furnishes the children with a

stepfather. The reduction of role relationships for them may also

be desirable. Therefore, the impetus toward role reduction or

elimination may come from either ex-spouse. The reduction or

elimination is most likely to occur in the resources allocated to

the child by the divorced father assuming he is the noncustodial

parent.











Hypothesis #1

As the number of role obligations for either ex-spouse

increases, the resources allocated by the father to the children

of the previous marriage will decrease.


Role Bargaining

There is little in the literature that explains how role bar-

gaining takes place and results in the establishment of new roles.

Role bargaining is influenced by both the internal demands of the

actor as well as the relative pressures of external change (Goode,

1960). Pressure can be caused by the finite sum of resources, the

extent to which resources have already been expended and the costs

imposed by others. Others can include the ex-wife, her new husband

and the new wife of the divorced father.

Thornton and Nardi (1975) have suggested a four-stage process

delineating how new roles are acquired. While it deals with norma-

tive roles, a look at the process may help identify those points at

which role negotiations may break down because of the absence of

norms. First is an anticipatory stage based on the concept of

anticipatory socialization. Prior to assuming a new role an actor

learns the expectations of that role from generalized society and

social stereotypes. The second, formal stage occurs when the actor

becomes an incumbent of the new role and is socialized by the mem-

bers of the role set. There is high consensus both within and

between sources of information and the actor's reactions to these

expectations is postponed. He accepts the interpretation of the










role made by others in the role-set and does not attempt to modify

their interpretations by interpretations of his own. In the third

stage, which is termed the informal stage, the actor learns the

informal requirements of the role rather than the obligations of

the normative order. These informal requirements provide for some

variability in performance and to some degree the actor can shape

the role to his individual requirements. In the last stage the

actor can influence the expectations of others and "personalize"

the role to relate his own psychological needs to those of the

role. The role can now be internalized.

In applying the model to the newly divorced father several

exceptions must be noted. First is the absence of an anticipatory

stage. The strains of dissolving the personal relationship

between husband and wife may not leave much room for anticipating

the change in father-child relationships that divorce will bring.

The symbolic authority of the father is gone (Weiss, 1975, pp. 187-

198). A new role has to be negotiated without the anticipatory

socialization process that may come from reference groups (Merton,

1968, pp. 281-301).

The newly separated father, lacking the guidelines customarily

received through anticipatory socialization, must immediately move

into the second stage which is based on expectations of the role

set. Thornton and Nardi (1975) suppose high consensus at this

point based on the expectations of stage one. Since stage one is

nonexistent the father is forced to rely on the previous role











relationship with mother and child for guidance. As Getzels and

Guba (1954) point out, however, conflict in a role depends in part

on the degree of incompatability that exists. If conflict pre-

dominated in the previous role relationships, consensus is less

likely to occur. But, if the performance of the father role was

not a significant issue in the divorce, it can be assumed that the

steps in the model will take their course and the members will be

able to successfully negotiate the necessary changes in paternal

roles between themselves. If disagreement over paternal role per-

formance was so great prior to the divorce that it became a cause

for the divorce, it is unlikely that post-divorce paternal roles

will be redefined without the aid of some third party. Usually

this third party will appear within institutional structures such

as court action, legal or professional advice and friend or kin-

ship networks.

Hypothesis #2

The use of third parties to negotiate post-divorce paternal

roles will be more likely to occur if pre-divorce paternal role

performance was seen as unsatisfactory by the ex-wife.


Social Structure and Deviance

So far role conflict has been discussed in terms of individual

interpretations of expected role behaviors in the absence of norma-

tive order. However, social structure may also fail to provide the

means by which role requirements can be achieved (Turner, 1962;










Merton, 1968; Komarovsky, 1973). Merton points out that social and

cultural structures contain two elements. The first consists of

culturally defined goals and the second of modes or institutional-

ized means of meeting those goals. While both reflect cultural

values, the values represented by the norms which regulate conduct

serve to limit the choices available for attaining cultural goals.

His main hypothesis is that nonconforming behavior may be seen as a

dissociation between cultural goals and institutionalized means.

He goes on to develop a five-stage typology of modes of indi-

vidual adaptation, the last one of which will form the basis for

the third hypothesis. He presupposes that alienation from estab-

lished goals and standards occurs when these goals and standards

have come to be seen as purely arbitrary. The result is that neither

goals or cultural means are seen as legitimate and the response is

a form of rebellion that seeks to modify social structure.

Merton concludes by suggesting that rebellion is most likely

to be engaged in by members of a rising class rather than depressed

classes. He uses as his example the 19th century bourgeoisie of

France (pp. 185-248).

Traditionally legal custody is awarded to the mother and the

child lives with the mother following divorce. Although father

custody and various forms of co-parenting have been the source of

much popular discussion of late, only one-tenth of the children

living with a divorced parent live with the father. While the

absolute number of such cases has increased, the percentage has










remained constant for the past two decades (Current Population

Reports, 1979).

The human potential and liberation movements have emphasized

freedom from arbitrary sex-stereotyped roles in all areas of life.

Frequently included among their targets are the male instrumental

and the female expressive roles. The greatest participation in

these movements has been in the middle classes; therefore, it seems

most likely that they would be the first to rebel against traditional

parental roles and seek alternative ways of responding to them. One

way of doing this is for the father to take legal custody or be the

custodial parent.

Hypothesis #3

Middle class divorced parents will be more likely to reject

traditional custody and living arrangements than upper class or

lower class divorced parents.













CHAPTER III

REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE


The review of the divorce literature will consist of those

studies dealing with post-divorce relationships between ex-spouses

and between father and child. The information presented from each

study will be limited to that which sheds light on the three basic

assumptions and the variables identified in the theoretical frame-

work.

There are three major studies that deal all, or in part, with

post-divorce relationships. The first is Goode's After Divorce pub-

lished in 1956 and re-published as Women in Divorce in 1965. In

addition to looking at both the causal and processual features of

divorce, he extensively examined post-marital activities and adjust-

ments including the continuing relationship between ex-spouses.

This latter issue was not dealt with again, at least not in such

detail, until the publication of Weiss's book Marital Separation in

1975. Weiss's work is devoted to the post-separation period and

includes information on parent-child relationships as well as those

of ex-spouses. These two works, plus the work of Heatherington,

Cox and Cox (1976), represent the major studies in the continuing

relationship between divorced men and their first families. This

latter work is in progress, but a preliminary report was published

in the Family Coordinator in 1976. These works are major in the









16

sense that they are comprehensive in scope and involve either large

samples or are longitudinal in nature. The Weiss (1975) and

Heatherington et al. (1976) studies involve middle class popula-

tions only.

These three major studies will be discussed first, followed by

the findings of nine minor studies which also deal with either the

continuing relationships between ex-spouses or continuing father-

child relationships. These latter studies are classified as minor

in the sense that they involve either small convenience samples,

usually weighted with middle class respondents, or only deal with a

single issue.

Major Studies

Goode's (1965) study involved 425 divorced mothers in metro-

politan Detroit who were between the ages of 20 and 38 at the time

of divorce. The length of time divorced ranged from two months to

26 months. Goode tapped a wide variety of post-divorce behaviors

and situations, a few of which are particularly pertinent to this

study. Interviews were held with the divorced woman only and com-

ments regarding the behavior of the ex-husband are based on the

ex-wife's perceptions.

Goode notes that the divorce process may continue long after

the divorce decree is granted. Ex-spouses continue to exist for

each other symbolically and, if there are children, a channel is

provided through which each can make demands on the other--she for

child support and he for visitation (pp. 287, 313).











The respondents in his study reported a low level of contin-

uous child support with only 35% reporting regular payments and 40%

reporting payments as rare or never. There were two factors mediat-

ing payment continuity. The first was ability to pay with the sig-

nificant issue not amount of earnings but steadiness of employment.

Frequent unemployment resulted in less frequent payments. The second

effect on payment continuity was the relationship with the ex-wife.

Resentment over making payments, the wife originating divorce and

her remarriage all affected payment continuity negatively (pp. 222-

225).

Goode speculates that paternal visiting will decrease in fre-

quency as the father finds visits less pleasurable than expected,

as he takes on new role obligations and as his children move into

settled patterns of behavior for which visits may be disruptive.

Furthermore, each visit carries the burden of another separation

which may become chilling. While no frequency studies were conduc-

ted, respondents were asked to comment on the desired frequency of

visits. Expressed desires for less frequent visits were related to

steadiness of payments, her remarriage, negative post-visit

behavior on the part of the children, feelings of emotional distance

from the father expressed by the children and the ex-wife's desire

to punish her ex-husband (pp. 313-330).

The continuation of affect after divorce was examined based on

an index measuring the intensity of contacts rather than the fre-

quency. Four trends were noticed. The percentage of women reporting










a strong positive affect declined and the percentage of those

reporting indifference arose. Those reporting a friendly relation-

ship also declined. The percentage of those reporting a strong neg-

ative affect increased, but this seemed to be affected by remar-

riage. Those who were not remarried seemed directly antagonistic

toward their ex-spouse either because of what he had done or

because they perceived their situation as worsening. Those who were

remarried seemed not so antagonistic but negative in the sense that

their ex-husband suffered by comparison with the new husband (pp.

292-306).

An important work in the investigation of post-separation

behavior is Weiss's study based on his association with Parents

Without Partners and information gleaned from discussions with par-

ticipants in Seminars for the Separated established by Weiss and

his colleagues. Definitely qualitative in nature the study is based

on personal reports of both pre- and post-separation experiences.

Weiss (1975, pp. 103-112, 197-198) discusses both earlier and

later phases of the post-separation behavior of spouses toward each

other. At both times a wide variety of behaviors is reported.

These range from continued sexual activity to aggressive hostility,

as well as combined behaviors indicating a marked ambivalence toward

both the other spouse and the separation. In the later phase of

separation, current experiences and new associations tend to cause

old events to subside and lose significance. However, this

long term relationship may also reflect a change from divisiveness











to cooperation or from amicability to hostility. If divisive

issues are settled the former is likely to occur, but if disagree-

ments over support or visitation continue unresolved relationships

may worsen over time.

The four issues that are most likely to engender conflict are

property division, support, custody and visitation. With the excep-

tion of visiting, conflict is almost inevitable since what one

party gets the other does without. Even in vistation the plans

made by one party may be at odds with the convenience of the other.

In discussing the continued relationship with the children Weiss

has formulated a useful set of expected paternal roles. He refers

to such traditional roles as family head, protector and provider.

The first implies such duties as inculcating values, giving advice

and maintaining discipline. The father is also, at least symbolic-

ally, the guarantor of the family's physical safety. Lastly, he

provides for the basic necessities. Because of his absence from

the daily routine his ability to provide advice, to discipline and

to convey by precept and example is limited. He is also unable to

protect his children from predatory adults, bad companions or their

own poor judgment and inexperience. While he can continue support

he becomes an income source with no control over expenditures. His

contribution may be viewed by the spouse as payment for services

rendered rather than a continued responsibility for the well-being

of the household (pp. 179-180, 188-190).

Men refer to the unnaturalness of the relationship with their

children after separation, the energy required to maintain the










relationship and their concerns over failing to meet their obliga-

tions. In the early weeks of separation a sustained effort at fre-

quent visiting may be attempted which later proves impossible to

maintain. At the other extreme, at least the idea of ending con-

tact is likely to occur. The children's ages will be a significant

factor in determining length and frequency of visits. Pre-school

children require supervision if lengthy visits are planned and

adolescents have commitments of their own which may place limita-

tions on both the frequency and the nature of the visits. Distance

may also become a significant factor if either partner moves to

another region of the country. Weiss feels that income level will

enter as a significant determinant in these cases with lower income

fathers unable to see their children at all and middle and upper

income fathers resorting to occasional yearly visits when the

children are small and visits being arranged for part or all of vaca-

tions when they are older (pp. 191-198).

Custody is traditionally granted to the ex-wife and the grant-

ing of custody to the father contrary to wishes of the ex-wife is

not likely to be supported by the courts. In the past the customary

reason for the father requesting custody has been allegations of

infidelity on the part of the ex-wife which she chooses not to con-

test. Weiss feels that this is giving way to voluntary surrenders

of custody on the part of ex-wives which she agrees to for her own

reasons (pp. 108-109, 169-171).

Heatherington et al. (1976) have presented some of their pre-

liminary findings of a longitudinal study of the impact of divorce









21

on the functioning of 96 families. Part of their goal was to study

the re-organization of the family in the two-year period following

divorce. A comparison was made of divorced and intact families

matched for social class, age, education and length of marriage

of the parents;and age, sex and birth order of the children. All

respondents were white and middle class. Investigative measures

included laboratory observations, interviews and structured diaries

applied at two months, one year and two years after divorce.

Conflict was a significant characteristic of the exchanges

between ex-spouses with couples reporting that 66% of exchanges

involved conflict. The most common causes of conflict were finances

and support, child rearing and intimate relations with others.

Marked ambivalence, continued dependency and continuing sexual rela-

tions were also noted. Conflict and attachment both abate with

time with new intimate relationships (including remarriage) being

the most salient factor.

Contacts between divorced father and child decreased steadily

over time. At two months, divorced fathers were having about as

much face-to-face interaction as were fathers in intact homes. One-

quarter of the divorced fathers were having more face-to-face

interaction than they had before the divorce. By the end of the

two-year period, 19 fathers were seeing their children one or more

times a week, 14 every two weeks, 7 every three weeks, and 8 once a

month or less. The nature of the relationship also changed with

divorced fathers demanding more mature behavior, communicating











better and being more consistent by the end of the research period.

They also became less nurturant and more detached. The divorced

fathers were extremely permissive and indulgent at first but became

increasingly restrictive over the two-year period. They were never

as restrictive as fathers in intact homes, however. Eight fathers

coped with the stress of separation from their children by reducing

contacts and ten reported improved relationships and more enjoyment

in their interchanges with their children.


Minor Studies

The remaining studies deal with post-divorce norms, conflicts

in continuing relationships and satisfaction with post-divorce

fathering, visiting arrangements and frequency and father custody.

Goetting (1979) questions whether or not the 20 years that have

elapsed since the Goode study have not served to introduce at least

some degree of normative order into post-divorce relationships. To

test out this hypothesis she designed a questionnaire to tap degrees

of consensus regarding the appropriateness of behavior in specific

situations involving both the continuing relationship between

ex-spouses and shared responsibilities for child care and nurtur-

ance. Overall, she found more consensus than expected in that there

was agreement on 69% of the items in the questionnaire. In terms

of the continuing relationship between ex-spouses, consensus was

lacking on the appropriate amount of social distance to be main-

tained; however, men showed less concern over this issue than did

women.











In the area of child support there was a lack of consensus

over how much the ex-wife should ask for extra financial assistance

and how the father should respond to such requests. There was also

disagreement over how much each parent should attempt to influence

the other in matters of child management.

Goldsmith (1979) examined the continuing relationship between

ex-spouses by interviewing both men and women who had been divorced

for approximately one year. In all cases the mother had legal cus-

tody and lived within two and one-half hours of the ex-spouse by

ground travel. More conflict was found over issues relating to

co-parenting than over issues concerning their relationship as

ex-spouses. A majority of 84% reported continued telephone or per-

sonal contacts regarding child rearing issues. The most frequent

contacts concerned medical and school problems with everyday deci-

sions being the least likely to be shared. About three-fourths char-

acterized these contacts as stressful, conflictual or involving

basic differences in child rearing. Men expressed the greatest

dissatisfaction with these co-parental contacts with 51% reporting

dissatisfaction compared to 19% of the women. Both parents

expressed dissatisfaction with visiting as a means of maintaining

a satisfactory relationship between father and child.

Wide variations were reported in the feelings of each ex-spouse

toward the other with neither positive or negative expressions

predominating. However, 59% report their feelings changing over

time with such reasons given as time, adjustment to a new life,









24

remarriage of either and personal growth and maturity. Interaction

with the ex-spouse itself was also given as a cause of changed feel-

ings. Interactions other than those involving co-parenting were

restricted to friendly or "kin" contacts such as talking about

family members other than the children.

Several other studies explore the themes of continued relation-

ships marked by conflict and dissatisfaction with one aspect of

the relationship or another. Newsome (1979) examined the expressed

dissatisfactions of both ex-partners. Fifty-six men and 84 women

were interviewed with only a few of them being ex-partners of the

same marriage. The length of time of the divorce was not specified.

As in the Goldsmith study, all lived near their ex-spouses. The

major dependent variable was dissatisfaction with the divorce,but

relationships with the children were one factor examined in terms of

the man's dissatisfaction. Concerning everyday involvement with

his children, 53% of the men expressed some degree of dissatisfac-

tion and 40% expressed dissatisfaction with the amount of influence

they felt they had over their child. The general theme expressed

by the fathers was one of being an intruder in the lives of their

children rather than a father. In another measure of dissatisfac-

tion it was determined that those men who expressed a strong sense

of emotional closeness to their children expressed a higher degree

of satisfaction with the divorce and that this is the single most

important determinant of satisfaction with the divorce.

Dissatisfaction with fathering after divorce was also noted

by Grief (1977) who measured perceptions of role change among a











small group of divorced men. Overall, lack of contact with their

children produced dissatisfaction, personal devaluation and a sense

of role loss for fathers.

Older fathers and fathers in lower social class groups spent

less time with their children and were less satisfied with the

degree of influence they had on their children.

Both the Goldsmith and Newsome studies involved persons who had

been divorced a relatively short length of time. In a recent study

of 500 ever-divorced men and women Albrecht (1980) examined the con-

tinuing contact between ex-spouses who appear to have been divorced

longer. The mean age at divorce was 30.9 years and the mean age at

the time of interview was 45.1 years. The time elapsed indicates

that the mean length of divorce for the sample was 14.2 years. Only

11% of the sample reported continuing contact between ex-spouses

once the divorce was obtained. More than 70% reported little or

no contact. Unfortunately, the published report does not indicate

how these contacts may have changed over time, but it is assumed

that the author is referring to contacts at the time of the study

and not at the time of the divorce.

Finally, a study by Cline and Westerman (1971) affirms the

possibility of conflict after divorce. In an examination of 102

families who appeared in a family court over a two-year period they

found that 52% had hostile interactions requiring intervention. The

two biggest areas of conflict were money and the children.

Two additional studies deal with the ways in which personal

contacts between father and child are arranged. Newsome (1977)










examined the hypotheses that the father's access to his children

will be controlled by the ex-wife and that the greater his contribu-

tion to the first family the more access he will be allowed. He

also predicted that the sentiments of the ex-wife concerning both

the divorce and paternal rights will act as intervening variables

affecting access. Generally, he found these two hypotheses sup-

ported; however, the role played by the ex-wife's sentiments was

not always clear.

Alexander (1980) reported on an investigation of the factors

which influence divorced parents in determining visiting arrange-

ments. She questioned whether visiting arrangements were decided in

the best interests of the child, the custodial parent, the visiting

parent or the continuing parental relationship. She determined

that the best interests of the child and the visiting parent were

given the highest consideration, in that order. These within group

differences were statistically significant. The interests of the

custodial parent and the continuing parental relationship were given

third and fourth consideration but these within group differences

were not statistically significant. She also found that hostility

between the two parents was not a significant factor in determining

the child's best interests.

Two other items of information on visiting emerged from the

Alexander study. The first is that visiting frequency was not

affected by the remarriage of the ex-spouse. Only one respondent

reported a decrease in visiting frequency for this reason. The











second refers to the use of third parties in making visiting

arrangements. She cites a study indicating that only 14% of par-

ents saw lawyers as influential in determining visiting arrange-

ments.

These studies all imply that a wide variety of factors may have

an impact on the satisfactions received from visiting in addition to

visiting frequency. It must be noted, however, that visiting may

not occur at all. Anspach (1976) studied kinship relations after

divorce and, while his study did not deal directly with the father-

child relationship, slightly over half of the women studied

reported that the fathers of their children did not visit.

The limited amount of data on father custody deals mostly with

the legal aspects of custody or consists of case studies reporting

the problems men have with single parenting. Only one study could

be found that discusses some of the social characteristics of men

who receive custody as well as some of the structural arrangements

that inhibit father custody. Gersick (1979) interviewed 40 men who

had been divorced between nine and twelve months. Half of the group

had had custody and the other half did not. He reports a tendency

for men in the higher social class categories to have custody com-

pared to those in the lower classes. He also found that those who

had custody tended to be older and more established than those who

did not have custody. His study bears out the supposition of Weiss

concerning the changing reasons for women relinquishing custody.

In 18 of the 20 cases of father custody the ex-wife consented to











the arrangement prior to the divorce hearing. In over half of

these it was the choice of the wife, or of the child or the result

of common consent.

Gersick found that the attitudes of the attorneys were gener-

ally not supportive of father custody and the sample as a whole

expressed dissatisfaction with their attorneys. The author sug-

gests a social class effect in the attorney-client relationship

since the professional and middle class men seemed to be able to

use their attorneys while the working class men felt that their

attorneys used them.


Summary

The continuing relationship between ex-spouses and between

father and child are the two common interests upon which this liter-

ature review is based. Consistently, the relationship between

ex-spouses is seen as ambivalent, shifting and ultimately lessen-

ing in most cases. Changes include moving toward better relation-

ships, an increase in indifference or worsening relationships.

Remarriage seems to be the most salient factor in reducing the

intensity of the relationship but there are indications that time

and maturity are also important.

Visiting between father and child seems to be characterized

largely by dissatisfaction for both parents. Goode's original

expectation that visits will decrease over time is supported by both

Weiss and Heatherington et al. Goode's findings on visiting and

Alexander's can be seen as conflicting. Goode reports that










attitudes of the ex-wife toward visiting by the father can be nega-

tively affected by a variety of conditions including both his

behavior and her attitudes toward him. Alexander reports that both

parties attempt to conduct visiting in a way which makes the inter-

ests of the child the paramount consideration.

Three other characteristics of the post-divorce relationship

are noted. One is that conflict is common, especially over matters

of child support and the father-child relationship. Secondly, sup-

port payments are most affected by the father's continued employ-

ment and his relationship with his ex-wife. Third, divorce makes

significant inroads into the father's satisfaction with his fulfill-

ment of the paternal role.

In terms of social structure, Goetting suggests that more norms

exist to guide post-divorce relationships than were previously

thought to exist while Weiss and Gersick note the presence of

strong structural constraints acting to prohibit father custody.













CHAPTER IV

THE RESEARCH METHOD


The procedures for collecting and analyzing the data needed

to test the hypotheses include the selection of a sample, the

development and administration of a questionnaire, the formulation

of operational definitions and the selection of the appropriate

statistical tools.

The best way to assure that all the desired variables would

occur in the sample would be to locate a universe consisting of

remarried men who had minor children by their first marriage and

minor stepchildren living in their home. The possibility of identi-

fying such a group seemed limited but contacts were made with two

county school districts (Orange and Volusia Counties) and one of

the large inner-city churches in Orlando. All three groups were

afraid of diverse reactions from their constituents if they

assisted in identifying members for research purposes and the

school authorities also cited federal regulations concerning the

confidentiality of school records.

Parents Without Partners seemed a likely source even though

members leave the organization after remarriage. However, organiza-

tions manned entirely by volunteers often keep minimal records and

the local chapter could not locate their record of former members.











Social service agencies comprise another community institution

that has contact with divorced men; however, the problem of confi-

dentiality again arises. A contact was made with the Epi-Center,

a social service agency in Orlando offering marital separation

seminars to men and women in the greater Orlando area. Dr. Larry

Webb, Executive Director of the Center, agreed to send a letter to

former seminar participants explaining the research project and

asking them to return an enclosed post card if they wished to par-

ticipate in the study. Twenty-one names were drawn from the Epi-

Center files. They were selected on the basis of an address in

Orange or Seminole County, only one previous marriage and the prob-

ability of having had children by that marriage. (The records of

the Center were not always complete.) Since participants in the

seminars are at various stages in the separation-divorce process it

was possible that some of those selected would have reunited and it

was unknown as to whether or not they would have remarried. To

increase the possibility of the latter event no participants were

selected who had entered the seminars after March 1978. Twenty-one

letters were sent out. Seven were returned by the post office as

undeliverable. Nine persons did not respond and five returned cards

indicating an interest. Of these five, one did not have children

and one could not arrange a convenient time for an interview. Three

interviews were completed and these three constitute the first sub-

sample (Epi-Center).

By now it was obvious that the desired universe could not be

identified. Therefore, the definition was revised to include men,










remarried or not, who had had children by a former marriage which

had ended in divorce. There were three types of county records

which were considered as possible sources and contacts were made in

Orange, Seminole and Volusia Counties to investigate the usefulness

of these records. The use of the first type, divorce records, was

quickly abandoned when investigation indicated that two sets of

records would have to be researched and then the male's address

would be more often absent than not. Also, divorce records would

not indicate a remarriage. Access to the second type, support pay-

ment records, was refused in two counties and this avenue was not

pursued with the third county since this source would eliminate the

voluntary support arrangements which divorced couples might employ

and thus knowingly bias the sample.

The third type of county record which could be employed would

be the county marriage license applications. These records indicate

the number of previous marriages, age of the applicants and the

address at the time of application. They do not indicate if there

were children by the previous marriage nor would the applications

indicate if the marriage actually took place. In addition, there

was always the possibility that the second marriage was no longer

intact. It was felt, however, that the use of the marriage license

applications would be the best source for assuring that at least

some of the sample would have an intact remarriage. The final

decision was to identify male applicants with one previous marriage,

between the ages of 25 and 45, who had filed for a marriage license











no less than one year before it was anticipated that interviews

would begin. One previous marriage was chosen as a limit to

avoid confusing the interview schedule with too many possible sets

of children with differing custodial parents. The age limit was

selected to increase the possibility of respondents having children

who were still minors. The one year following remarriage was sel-

ected to give time for visiting arrangements which might have been

affected by the remarriage to settle into an established pattern.

Accordingly records were examined between the dates of November

1977 and June 1978. This meant that some of the applications were

filed as long as 20 months before letters were sent to potential

respondents, a factor which no doubt accounts for the great attri-

tion which took place.

Using the formula indicated above, 599 names were selected from

the records of Orange and Seminole Counties. Of these, only 187

(31.2%) could be tentatively identified and located by using phone

books and local directories. Letters on University of Central

Florida stationery and signed by the Director of Graduate Studies

and Research were sent out in June 1979, inviting the receivers to

participate in the study (see Appendix A). Of the first wave of

letters sent (122) only 23 were returned undeliverable. Of the 99

remaining, 24 could not be located by phone. Since these 24 let-

ters had obviously been forwarded the letter was modified in subse-

quent mailings to encourage receivers who had moved to contact the

researcher if they wished to participate in the study (see Appendix









34

B). Sixty-five more letters were sent using the revised letter but

only one person responded to this suggestion.

Following is the breakdown of responses to the 187 letters

which were sent out in four different mailings over a four-week

period.


Breakdown of Responses

Letter returned as undeliverable 23
Letter forwarded, but could not locate 38
No answer to repeated phone calls 15
Mistaken identity 12
Refusal to participate 25
No children by first marriage 26
Remarried first wife 4
Agreed to participate, but appointment
not arranged or kept 7

Total failures to interview 148


Thirty-nine interviews were completed and one was eliminated

since answers were inconsistent and the interviewer reported that

the respondent seemed to be under the influence of drugs. The

second sub-sample thus consists of 38 cases (County Records).

Reliance on a snow ball sample had been rejected in the

planning phase of the study since the researcher found it difficult

to identify potential participants who fit all the criteria, par-

ticularly remarriage. The few that were found were used to pre-

test the interview schedule and some of these are included in the

final sample when appropriate. However, as the interviews pro-

ceeded, more and more potential respondents came to the attention of

the researcher with many being identified by the research assist-

ants.










In these cases, respondents were assigned to another inter-

viewer to avoid any element of personal bias. Twenty snow ball

respondents are included in the analysis and these comprise the

third sub-sample (Snow Ball).

When it became apparent that the sample from the marriage

application files would fall far short of the goal of 100 cases it

was decided to try to obtain media attention regarding the research

and invite men to participate in the study. Some time in early

August 1979 the Orlando Sentinel Star published a feature section

entitled "The Male in Society" which included a short article on

this research project and invited participation from divorced males

with first families. The name of the researcher was included with

his office phone number. Over the next several weeks, 48 phone

calls were received and 40 interviews were completed. Of the eight

not interviewed, two were in the first divorce process, three lived

too far away, two could not arrange a convenient time for an inter-

view and one had no children.

The initial calls from this sample were screened by a secretary

who checked for address, phone, marital status and children by the

first marriage. Comments recorded by the secretary indicated that

this sample would probably be biased since many of the respondents

obviously had an "axe to grind" and were calling to report unpleas-

ant experiences of one kind or another. It is anticipated that

this potential bias will add an extra dimension to the research

since this sub-sample can be compared with the others for differences










in significant family experiences. The fourth sub-sample thus

contains 40 cases (Newspaper).

In summary then, the total sample contains 101 cases of men who

had children by a previous marriage. This sample is composed of

four sub-samples identified as the Epi-Center sub-sample (3), the

county records sub-sample (38), the snow ball sub-sample (20) and

the newspaper sub-sample (40).


The Questionnaire

A trial questionnaire was developed and pre-tested on ten sub-

jects. From this experience a final questionnaire was printed and

then administered by the researcher and nine undergraduate sociology

and psychology majors at the University of Central Florida in

Orlando. A structured questionnaire was used with some open-ended

questions (see Appendix C). All of the interviewers had some

experience in interviewing and were recommended by their faculty

advisors. An additional four hours of instruction were provided by

the researcher along with on-going supervision throughout the data

collection process. The data were collected between June 1, and

August 31, 1979.


Operational Definitions

In order to test the hypotheses each of the dependent and

independent variables must be operationally defined. To do this

each variable necessary to the testing of the hypotheses will be

identified and the indicator used to measure it specified.











In the first hypothesis the resources allocated to the

children of the first marriage constitute the dependent variable.

These resources will be specified as the frequency of visits, mail

and phone contacts and voluntary contributions of support upon the

request of either the child or the ex-wife. The independent var-

iable is the increasing number of role obligations which are

measured according to three marital statuses. These are separation

and divorce, which give a measure of minimal role obligation, and

the remarriage of either ex-spouse as a measure of role increase.

In the second hypothesis the dependent variable is the use of

a third party to negotiate post-divorce roles. The two roles to be

negotiated are visiting and child support. Indicators of third

party involvement will be a court order issued without the know-

ledge of, or against the wishes of, either ex-spouse; or the reli-

ance upon an attorney or other third party to negotiate visiting or

support. Mutual agreement prior to the divorce proceedings, with

or without a court order, will be considered evidence of the

absence of third party involvement. The independent variable is

the ex-wife's perceptions of unsatisfactory paternal role perform-

ance. This will be measured by the extent to which paternal role

performance was a causal factor in the divorce.

In the third hypothesis the dependent variable is the rejec-

tion of traditional custody and living arrangements. Rejection of

traditional arrangements will be indicated by the father having

custody of one or more of his children or having one or more of











his children maintain their residence with him anytime after the

divorce. The independent variable is social class which will be

measured by Hollingshead's Two Factor Index. This index is based

on education and occupation and had been in use since 1957. It has

a reliability of .906. There are five classes which are identified

by number and defined by occupational position rather than by name

(Hollingshead & Redlich, 1958). For this study Class I will be

defined as upper class, Classes II and III combined as middle

class and Classes IV and V combined as lower class (Kessler &

Cleary, 1980, p. 468).

Other independent variables will be examined for the possible

effects they may have on the dependent variables. These include

the attitudes of the ex-wife toward the father and toward his con-

tinued contact with the children, the attitude of the father's

present wife, geographic distance, religion and sub-sample differ-

ences. Comparisons of religion will be limited to differences

between Catholics and Protestants.

Data Analysis

The data were analyzed by using the Statistical Package for

the Social Sciences (Nie, Hull, Jenkins, Steinbrenner & Bent,

1975). Since the data were predominantly nominal, statistical

analysis was confined to the Chi-square test of independence and

either the Phi coefficient or Cramer's V depending on table size.

Tables were frequently reduced by combining frequencies to either

simplify analysis or to compensate for too many small or missing









39

cells. When cells less than five occur, SPSS automatically applies

the Yates correction for Chi-square (243). In the analysis the

corrected Chi-square will be used unless otherwise indicated. The

level of significance to be obtained in order for hypotheses to be

accepted is .05.

Since the sample is obviously of a convenience nature general-

izations cannot be made to the population of divorced fathers at

large. The use of tests of significance and measures of associa-

tion is not intended to estimate population parameters but rather

to test hypotheses and establish the location of individuals in

relationships to others (Farber, 1957; Coleman, 1961; Zelditch, 1961;

Lee, 1977).













CHAPTER V

DESCRIPTION OF THE SAMPLE


This descriptive report of the questionnaire findings will

begin with a breakdown of the social and demographic characteristics

of the sample. This will be followed by frequency distributions of

the dependent and independent variables which will be used in the

next chapter to test the three hypotheses for acceptance or rejec-

tion.

Since the sample consists of 101 respondents the absolute num-

bers and the percentages are about equal. In such cases, when the

difference between the two figures is less than two, either the

absolute number or the percentage will be given, not both. In all

other instances the percentage will be given followed by the abso-

lute number in parentheses.


Characteristics of the Sample

The men in the sample ranged in age from 23 to 59 years (mean

= 37.4, median = 36.9). Ninety-six were Caucasian, four were black

and one was Spanish-American. Sixty were Protestant, 24 were

Catholic and two were Jewish. Thirteen were either nonaffiliated

or of some other religious group and two did not respond. According

to Hollingshead's Two Factor Index of Social Class, nine respond-

ents fell into Class I, 31 were Class II, 48 were Class III, ten

were Class IV and one was Class V. Two did not respond. There was

40








41

no statistically significant relationship between religion and social

class. Protestants predominated at all class levels except in Class

V which contained only one case. Only two men had less than a high

school education, 20 were high school graduates, 41 had some college,

21 were college graduates and 14 had a graduate degree. Three did

not respond. Given the time of the last census and the rapid

growth and change in the Central Florida area, the population esti-

mates would be so unreliable as to make a comparison on these demo-

graphic variables meaningless. However, it seems probable that the

sample is more likely to be better educated, Protestant and Caucasian

than the general population in Central Florida.

The length of the respondent's first marriages ranged from nine

months to 23 years (mean = 10.5 and median = 9.8). The length of

time between the divorce and the interview ranged from two months

to 15.8 years (mean = 4.8 and median = 3.9).

Sevety-six of the men had remarried and 86.8% (66) of these

second marriages were still intact. Of the remainder, two were

separated and 10.5% (8) had divorced their second wives. Twenty-

five had not remarried.

Of the ex-wives of the first marriage, 49 had remarried and 50

had not. Only two men did not know anything about the marital

status of their first wives. Of the 49 who had remarried, 35 were

still remarried, ten divorced and in the other four cases the men

were not sure.










Twenty-four of the respondents had one or more stepchildren

living with them. (This includes one man who had his stepchildren

in his care although their mother had left the family.) Fourteen

men had children born to their second marriage. Half of these

were under one year of age and the oldest was 14 years of age.

Twenty-one men had one or more of their own children living

with them and of these, 19 had custody of one or more of their

children.

In terms of the geographic distance separating the fathers

from their children, 51.7% (46) lived 50 miles or less from their

children, 6.7% between 51 and 150 miles, 5.6% between 151 and 300

miles and 36.0% (32) lived more than 300 miles away. (See Appendix D.)


Personal Contacts

Visiting arrangements were reached by mutual consent in 62.8%

(59) of the cases. The use of a third party to negotiate visiting

arrangements occurred in 37.2% (35) of the cases.

No change in the original agreement was reported by 68.1% (64)

of the men. Changes by mutual agreement were reported by 11.7% and

9.6% reported that the request for change came at the instigation

of one party with the other party opposing it. Other reasons for

changes were reported by 10.6% (6) of the respondents without the

specific reasons being given.

Visiting is an extremely difficult behavior to define opera-

tionally since visits can vary both in length and frequency with

little relative change in the actual amount of time spent with the











child. For example, if a father has been seeing his children one

weekend a month for approximately 48 hours each visit and he changes

to one month-long visit per year he has decreased the frequency of

his visits from 12 per year to one per year. However, the actual

amount of time spent with his children has increased from 576 hours

(12 months x 48 hours) to 720 hours (30 days x 24 hours). Ignoring

the meaning of this for either father or child, it is difficult to

judge whether this should be seen as an increase or a decrease in

the amount of time allocated to the children of his first family.

In an attempt to cope with this problem respondents were asked to

state not only how often they visited their child but how long visits

lasted. The frequency of visits was scaled as follows: daily,

weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, holidays and birthdays,

yearly, less than yearly and never. Length of visits was scaled at

two hours or less, half-day, all day, overnight or weekend and a

week or more. Respondents were asked to indicate the visiting pat-

tern at differing marital statuses. These were during separation,

after the divorce and after the remarriage of either, which indi-

cates a sequential series of events.

Appendix E indicates both the length and frequency of visits

for each marital status with both row and column totals. In order

to simplify the presentation both the frequencies and the lengths

of visits were dichotomized and are presented in Table 1. This

table includes multiple responses. That is, if the father had his

children visit once a month for the weekend and also had them visit































































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for a week or more once a year, both visiting arrangements were

recorded. Visiting lengths were divided into short visits of a day

or less and longer visits (overnight or more). Frequency of visits

was also divided into less frequent (once per month or less) and

more frequent (more than once per month).

As can be seen the longer visits are increasingly utilized as

the marital statuses proceed through separation, divorce and the

remarriage of either ex-spouse. The longer visit is utilized more,

however, after the remarriage of the ex-wife than it is after the

remarriage of the father. As the visits increase in length they

decrease in frequency. Visiting more than once a month is most com-

mon during the separation period (77.0%) but decreases to 64.9%

after divorce and drops to 47.5% and 43.7% respectively with the

father's remarriage and the remarriage of the ex-spouse.

Longer visits make up 44.8% of all visits during separation,

but increase to 58.5% after divorce and to 66.1% with the father's

remarriage and 78.1% with the remarriage of the ex-wife.

A closer examination of the appendix shows that the quarterly

and the yearly visits are the frequencies showing the greatest

increase with the remarriage of either spouse; the weekly visit

showing the greatest decrease. During separation, 14.1% report

that they never visit. The frequency drops slightly to 12.6% after

divorce and then rises to 22.6% and 30.5% respectively with the

remarriage of the father and the ex-wife (not shown).

Mail and phone contacts were both examined for frequency and

have also been dichotomized for ease of examination (see Table 2).
































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47

Mail is obviously not a heavily utilized method for keeping in

touch. At most, only 36 men report using the mail and this was

during the period of divorce. Phone calls of more than once per

month are relied upon heavily during the separation period (83.1%)

and continue to be a major source of contact during the subsequent

marital statuses (after divorce, 68.3%; after the father's remarriage,

57.8%; and after the ex-wife's remarriage, 69.6%).

The men who never use mail or phone contacts remains fairly

stable at all statuses. The never mail group remains between 50%

and 65% and the never phone group between 20.7% and 28.9% (not shown).

The general trend has been for visits to increase in both fre-

quency and length after the divorce when compared to the separation

period.

Following the remarriage of either ex-spouse, visits tend to

increase in length but decrease in frequency although this is more

marked for the remarriage of the ex-wife. In a separate analysis of

frequency only (which will be used later in Chapter VI) the same

pattern appears in that the number of men reporting more frequent

visits decreases and the number of men reporting less frequent

visits increases with changes in marital status. None of this

indicates whether the actual amount of time the father spends with

his children is increasing, decreasing or remaining the same. The

maximum visiting length specified in the questionnaire was "a week

or more." This could include anything from a week to the entire











summer. This visiting length increased from 8.7% during separation

to 25.4% after the remarriage of the ex-wife. Therefore, it is pos-

sible in some cases that with the remarriage of either ex-spouse

more time is spent with the children in terms of clock hours than

was spent with them during the separation or divorce periods.

The underlying logic for using frequency of visits as an indi-

cator of role involvement is strengthened by examining the number of

men who reported never visiting their children. The pattern is the

same although the progression is reversed. The number who never

visit drops slightly after divorce and then increases with the

remarriage of each ex-spouse.

While it seems clear that changing marital statuses results in

fewer direct contacts between father and child, the relative stabil-

ity of mail and phone contacts at each marital status indicates

that a reduction in personal contacts does not imply a reduction

in interest.

Child Support

Most of the respondents indicated that they were involved in

making support payments. Arrangements for child support were

derived by mutual consent in only 20.9% (18) of the cases. The use

of a third party to negotiate child support payments occurred in

79.1% (68) of the cases. In the majority of the cases third party

intervention was in the form of a court order contrary to the wishes

of one party or the other. Of these, 56 were against the wishes of

the man and three were against the wishes of the ex-wife.











Changes in the amount of support after the original order or

agreement occurred in 39.5% (34) of the cases. Eleven of these

were by mutual agreement leaving the court order unchanged. Three

were by court order at the man's request and seven were by court

order at the request of the ex-wife. (Thirteen failed to report the

process.) Twelve different reasons for a change in support were

given. The ex-wife requested more money in six of the cases and

the man requested a reduction due to income loss in four of the

cases. Other reasons included the remarriage of the ex-wife, change

in custody, child becoming of age and the ex-wife running away.

Fathers were also asked how many times a year they sent money

or gifts to their children on a voluntary basis. Of the 84 men

responding to this question 16.7% (14) indicated that they never did

and 42.9% (36) stated that they limited voluntary contributions to

birthdays and holidays. Those who were more involved included 17.9%

(15) who sent money or gifts five or less times in addition to hol-

idays and birthdays.

Insurance policies and savings plans were used as an indicator

of financial support for children. Thirty-two men said they kept up

life insurance policies on their children. Fifty-two had made their

children beneficiaries to their life policies, 62 covered their

children with some kind of health policy and 11 had some other kind

of insurance. Savings plans for their children were maintained by

33 of their fathers. (These data are from the total sample and

include fathers who had custody. In addition, some men are

reported more than once.)










Respondents who were making payments were asked if they had

ever stopped for three months or more or if they had ever missed or

been late with payments for a period of time up to three months.

Twenty-three (26.7%) indicated that they had stopped payments or

both stopped and missed payments one or more times. The most fre-

quently given reason was a shortage of funds. This was mentioned ten

times. Unemployment and illness or injury accounted for six occa-

sions of stopped or missed payments. Two times were due to the

ex-wife denying visitation, two for retaliation for other felt

grievances and one because the man stated his ex-wife owed him money.

Asked if the stopped, missed or late payments had ever been

made up, 55.6% (15) indicated yes and 44.4% (12) said no.

Respondents were asked to indicate if they had ever been asked

to send extra funds (beyond the support agreement) for their child

at either the request of the child or the request of the ex-wife.

The same question was asked for each of the four marital statuses

previously described. The choices were that they always sent extra

funds, they sometimes refused, they sometimes could not or they

never sent extra funds. There was a large number of nonresponses to

this inquiry and it is not certain if this was due to the fact that

requests for extra funds were never made or due to confusion over

the wording of the question.

Since the first three categories indicate that the father was at

least disposed to send money some of the time these were collapsed

into one "favorable" response. The "never" response is categorized

as "unfavorable."










By looking at Table 3, it can be seen that a request from the

child receives an increased favorable response after the divorce

when compared with the separation period (from 13.6% to 22.7%).

When the request comes from the ex-wife the favorable response drops

slightly from 35.6% to 32.5% for the same change in status.

With the remarriage of the divorced father the favorable

responses rise to 27.9% at the child's request and to 48.3% at the

ex-wife's request.

After the remarriage of the ex-wife the favorable responses

drop sharply to 20.0% at the child's request and 25.0% at the

ex-wife's request.

Over half the cases (68.5%) reported that child support was

imposed by the court contrary to the wishes of one party or the

other but usually contrary to the wishes of the father. Later

changes in the original support arrangement occurred in 39.5% of the

cases with most of them being by mutual agreement leaving the court

order unchanged. (Note, however, that there was a large number of

nonresponses concerning the change process.)

Of the 84 fathers who reported voluntarily sending money

beyond child support requirements, 59.6% said they did not do so or

only sent money or gifts for birthdays and holidays. The other

40.5% sent money or gifts at least a few times per year in addition

to birthdays and holidays.





























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53

While the data on insurance coverage are overlapping, at least

62% of fathers carry some kind of insurance on their children with

the most common form being health insurance.

A large group of respondents (73.3%) report never missing or

being late with their payments. Of those who stopped or missed pay-

ments, 55.6% said they made up the payments at a later date.

Favorable responses to requests for extra funds from either the

child or the ex-wife vary sharply according to the marital status

of both the father and the ex-wife. The most prominent finding is

that favorable responses to a request from either child or ex-wife

increased after the father remarried and decreased after the remar-

riage of the ex-wife.


Relationships Between Divorced Fathers and Their Ex-Wives

The men were asked to respond to a six-point scale indicating

their relationship with their ex-wife both at the time of the

divorce and at the time of the interview. The six choices on the

scale were "antagonistic," "unfriendly," "neutral," "some friendly,"

"good friends," and "other."

As Table 4 indicates the number of men reporting antagonistic

or unfriendly relationships had dropped by the time of the interview.

Those reporting unfriendly relationships dropped almost two-thirds

between the time of the divorce and the time of the interview. The

group reporting neutral relationships increased--again by about

two-thirds. The group reporting generally positive relationships

showed an increase.




































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Generally, then, there was a reduction of hostilities with a

marked increase in neutral feelings and some increase in friendly

feelings.

Respondents were also asked if they perceived their ex-wife as

opposing or supporting their relationship with their children at both

the time of the divorce and at the time of the interview. Very few

were neutral on this issue, and support and opposition were about

equal (see Table 5).

The apparent stability of this relationship disappears, however,

when the reasons given for change are examined on a case by case

basis. Thirty-eight men reported changes over the time period

examined. These changes were in both directions with some reporting

their ex-wives withdrawing support and some reporting an increase in

support. The father's own maturity and the influence of his

children were the two most frequently mentioned reasons for change,

but only four men indicated these reasons. All other reasons were

individual. Some examples were the ex-wife afraid of his influence

on the children, father taking custody, engaging in power plays and

the removal of a restraining order.

In an attempt to determine something of the nature and extent

of post-divorce relationships between ex-spouses, respondents were

asked to indicate if they discussed certain matters with their

ex-wives at these same two points in time. The questions concerned

both contacts they had regarding the children and contacts they may

have had which would indicate a continuing relationship between the

































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57

two adults. The possible subjects they might have discussed concern-

ing the children included visiting, support, health problems, school

or behavior problems and any good news concerning the children.

Possible subjects concerning their relationship included per-

sonal problems of either, household management, problems from the

past, mutual friends or relatives and mutual financial interests other

than child support.

In all of these areas respondents were asked to respond in terms

of agreement, compromise, fighting, he refusing to discuss the mat-

ter, she refusing to discuss the matter, avoiding the topic or no

need to discuss the topic. They were also asked to give the reasons

for any changes that were reported.

In order to reduce the data to a more manageable form the

nature of the discussions has been categorized as positive

(usually agree and compromise), negative (fight, he or she refuses

to discuss and avoid topic) and no discussion. Table 6 gives the

responses to discussions involving the children and Table 7 the

responses to discussion involving the two adults.

In all topic areas concerning the children, positive discus-

sions decrease over time. Negative responses decrease only slightly

for discussions concerning the children's health, school or behavior

problems and good news. The absence of discussions for all topics

increases only slightly except on the topic of support in which "no

need to discuss" increases from 28.2% to 44.0%.

The pattern of responses to discussions concerning the

ex-spouses is quite different. In all topic areas save one, both


























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positive and negative responses decrease between the time of the

divorce and the time of the interview. Accordingly, the topics

over which no discussion takes place increase, some quite substan-

tially. The one topic in which little change occurs concerns dis-

cussions that take place about mutual friends and relatives. The

response, when positive at the time of the divorce, tends to remain

positive. The decrease is only from 28.5% to 26.4%.

Respondents were also asked to give their perceptions of the

reasons these changes took place. This was posed as an open ques-

tion in the interview schedule and the responses were later cate-

gorized by the researcher. A large number of responses was so

idiosyncratic as to defy categorization; therefore, the "other" cat-

egory is quite large. The remaining primary categories in which

multiple responses occurred were the passage of time, severing con-

tacts and the remarriage of either party. While the probability is

high that the first two are related reasons, they did seem to emerge

as distinct reasons in the minds of the respondents.

Table 8 gives the reasons for change in discussions concerning

the children, and Table 9 reasons for change in discussions between

the two adults.

The basic reason for change in discussions concerning the

children are idiosyncratic reasons (36.4%). The next most important

reason is severed contacts (31.8%). Reasons for changes in discus-

sions between the ex-spouses concerning themselves are about evenly

divided between the passage of time (27.3%), idiosyncratic reasons











TABLE 8

REASON GIVEN FOR CHANGE IN DISCUSSIONS BETWEEN
EX-SPOUSES CONCERNING CHILDREN
Men Reporting Change
Reason for Change Number of Responses Percentage of Total

Time 14 8.1

Learned to Agree 7 4.0

Children Emancipated 6 3.5

Children Did Planning 7 4.0

Severed Contact 55 31.8

Remarriage of Either 12 6.9

Financial Ties Ended 0 0.0

Custody Change 9 5.2

Other 63 36.4

TOTALS 173 100.0











TABLE 9

REASON GIVEN FOR CHANGE IN DISCUSSIONS BETWEEN
EX-SPOUSES CONCERNING SELVES

Men Reporting Change
Reason for Change Number of Responses Percentage of

Time 53 27.3

Learned to Agree 4 2.1

Children Emancipated 0 0.0

Children Did Planning 0 0.0

Severed Contact 51 26.3

Remarriage of Either 22 11.3

Financial Ties Ended 7 3.6

Custody Change 5 2.6

Other 52 26.8


TOTALS 194 100.0


Responses










(26.8%) and severed contacts (26.3%). In both types of contacts it

would appear that time, severed contacts and idiosyncratic reasons

are more important reasons for change than the remarriage of either

party. Remarriage accounts for less than 12% of the reasons for

change in either case.

A general measure of the relationship between ex-spouses indi-

cates a reduction of hostile feelings, an increase in neutral feel-

ings and some increase in friendly feelings between the time of the

divorce and the time of the interview.

The support the ex-wife gives to the continuing relationship

between father and child shows changes in both directions with

approximately one-third of the men reporting that the ex-wife moved

from support to opposition or vice versa.

In a more detailed examination of continuing contacts broken

down by person involved and subject matter the tendency is for con-

tacts between ex-spouses to remain active over matters concerning the

children but to eventually disappear over matters concerning the

two adults. It is significant, however, that contacts concerning

the children which involve socially structured behaviors (visiting

and support) show a slight decrease in negative relationships. More

importantly, in the area of support, there is a marked move toward

nonproblematic behavior in that support moves the most noticeably

toward ceasing to be a topic of discussion. On the other hand,

those topics that are marked by a lack of normative order









66

(children's health, school and behavior problems and sharing of good

news) show an increase in negative relationships.

Discussions concerning the continuing relationship between

ex-spouses generally show a diminution over time which the respond-

ents largely attribute to factors related to time. These are the

passage of time itself and the severing of contacts over time.

Together these comprise 53.6% of the reasons given.

Another salient factor among the reasons for change is the

large number of idiosyncratic responses regarding the changing nature

of the relationships between ex-spouses whether the subject of dis-

cussion is the children or the adults themselves. In the absence of

normative order individuals resort to personal role negotiations

which may be conducted with a varying degree of success or failure.


Attitudes of the Present Wife

It seems reasonable to assume that the attitudes of the present

wife may influence the contacts the divorced man has with both his

children and his ex-wife. The men who had remarried were asked to

indicate how their present wife reacted to the amount of time and

money they allocated to their first children, and also how she

reacted to the contacts he had with his ex-wife. These attitudes

were examined over time with respondents asked to characterize atti-

tudes at the time of the remarriage and at the time of the interview.

The responses included in the scale were "usually resentful,"

"sometimes resentful," "not sure," "seems to accept," "encourages"

and "other."










For ease of discussion the responses have been dichotomized

into "resentment" ("usually resents" and "sometimes resentful") and

"acceptance" ("seems to accept" and "encourages"). The "not sure"

and "other" categories were dropped from analysis since the number

of these responses were minimal.

Tables 10 and 11 show the attitudes of the present wife toward

the amount of time and the amount of money the divorced father allo-

cates to his first children. In both cases the reported attitudes

of the present wife are those of marked acceptance with little

change over time. Change that does occur is toward increased

acceptance.

Acceptance of time allocated to the children is reported by

82.5% (47) at remarriage, rising to 88.5% (46) at the time of the

interview. Acceptance of money allocated to the children is reported

at 80.0% (44) at the remarriage, increasing slightly to 81.5% (44)

at the time of the interview.

Attitudes of the present wife toward contacts with the ex-wife

show a marked drop in resentment and an increase in acceptance over

time (see Table 12). Men who report that their present wife indi-

cated resentment had dropped from 56.3% (27) at the time of remar-

riage to 32.6% (15) at the time of the interview. Those reporting

present wife acceptance had increased from 43.7% (21) at remarriage

to 67.4% (31) at the time of the interview.

Respondents were also asked to respond to an open-ended ques-

tion explaining the reasons for changes in attitude. For unknown

































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reasons only 21 men responded to this question. Once again idio-

syncratic reasons predominated with 47.6% (10) giving a wide variety

of explanations which could not be classified. The other three

reasons which could be classified were the passage of time, 23.8%

(5); the ex-wife being seen as less of a threat by the present wife,

19.0% (4); and the present wife becoming more accepting of his

children, 9.5% (2).

Present wives were also evaluated by the respondents as to the

degree of interest they showed in their stepchildren. Described as

interested and involved with the stepchildren were 74.6% (44); inter-

ested but not involved, 5.1% (3); neutral, 8.5% (5); avoiding

involvement, 5.1% (3); disliking the children, 1.7% (1); and other

responses, 5.1% (3).

It seems obvious that the vast majority of present wives are

very supportive from the beginning of the resources allotted by

divorced men to their first children. In addition, a similar number

take an active interest in the lives of their stepchildren. There

is also a marked degree of tolerance for contacts the divorced man

maintains with the ex-wife which develops over time. However, this

finding must be evaluated in the light of the findings in the pre-

vious section that contacts between ex-spouses diminish substan-

tially over time. It is much easier to be tolerant or even support-

ing of occasional contacts than it is of on-going contacts.










Satisfaction with Post-Divorce Fathering

From Weiss's discussion of the father's position in the home

reported in the literature review, five paternal roles were con-

ceptualized. These are the inculcation of values, provision of

financial support, advice giving, discipline and protection (pp. 187-

198). Respondents were asked to indicate whether they were very

satisfied, usually satisfied, usually dissatisfied or very dissat-

isfied with their own performance in each of these roles.

Table 13 gives the breakdown of the responses. The combined

satisfaction scores indicate that 70.1% (68) were satisfied with the

support role, 57.5% (56) with the values role, 56.2% (54) with the

advice role, 58.4% (56) with the disciplinarian role and 51.6% (48)

with the protective role. When examining the degrees of satisfac-

tion or dissatisfaction, however, it can be seen that, with the

exception of the support role, those who were satisfied were more

often only usually satisfied but those who were dissatisfied were

more likely to be very dissatisfied.

In a related question, respondents were also asked how they felt

about the part they had been able to play in their children's lives

since the divorce. Sixteen percent (15) saw themselves as very

satisfied and 22.3% (21) as reasonably satisfied. Another 23.3%

(22) felt that there would have to be some changes made before they

would be satisfied. Of the remainder, 10.6% (10) were mostly dis-

satisfied, 23.8% (24) were very dissatisfied and 3.2% (3) gave

other responses.














73










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In other efforts to tap the effects of divorce on the father-

child relationship, fathers were asked about the emotional strain

of contacting their children when they knew they would have to say

"good-bye" when it was over. The question was whether or not they

had ever avoided contacting their children for this reason.

The greatest response to this question was "no" with 32.6%

(29) indicating they never had a problem with this. Another 25.8%

(23) indicated that it used to be a problem and they had become

accustomed to it. Still another 25.8% (23) indicated that although

it was difficult for them they still saw their children as much as

possible. Eight men indicated that they did avoid, or sometimes

would avoid, seeing their children for this reason.

Respondents were also asked if they had ever considered sur-

rendering their children for adoption either for the sake of the

child or for their own sake. A large majority of 85.1% (80) indi-

cated that they had never considered adoption for the sake of either

party. Twelve men said that they had given the matter some degree

of consideration for either themselves or the children. One of

these stated that he was currently giving the matter serious con-

sideration for his own sake. Three respondents had surrendered a

child for adoption by the stepfather.

In evaluating the above responses it should be noted that some

of the men who had one or more of their children living with them

also responded to those questions and it is likely that there is










some bias in the direction of satisfactions with fathering. Even

ignoring this possible bias it appears that divorce makes substan-

tial inroads into the satisfactions men derive from fathering after

divorce. At least 40.0% of the respondents expressed some degree

of dissatisfaction with four of the five paternal roles. The one

role in which more satisfaction was expressed was the support role

for which normative behaviors are delineated by law. In the other

measure of satisfaction with fathering, 57.7% expressed some degree

of dissatisfaction. In spite of these dissatisfactions the vast

majority of respondents claimed they never had considered abandon-

ing the paternal role by surrender for adoption.


Pre-Divorce Paternal Role Performance as a
Cause of Divorce

Respondents were asked to indicate to what extent they saw

disagreement over child rearing practices as a cause of their

divorce. They were to indicate if this was a major issue, a minor

issue or no issue for each of the five paternal roles discussed

above. Table 14 gives the findings. Disagreement over child rear-

ing practices does not seem to be a causal factor in 75.6% of the

cases (the mean of the "no issue" responses for the five roles).


Natural Father Versus Stepfather Responsibility

Since it is a central assumption of this study that post-divorce

roles lack institutionalization respondents were asked whom they felt

should have the most responsibility for fulfilling the five paternal

roles if the ex-wife remarries. This question was asked of all men

















































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whether their ex-wife had remarried or not. This means that some

men were anticipating what their attitude would be and for the

remainder, the choice was based on experience. When this factor was

controlled few differences appeared between the two groups and these

were not statistically significant.

The choices were that the stepfather had exclusive or most

responsibility, the natural father had exclusive or most responsi-

bility or that the responsibility should be equally shared. The

results are given in Table 15.

Ignoring for the moment the equal responsibility responses, the

support role is seen as more of the natural father's responsibility

with a combined 46.7% (42) respondents selecting him as compared

with a combined 35.5% (32) selecting the stepfather. In the other

four roles there is a slight trend toward more stepfather responsi-

bility, particularly in the discipline and protection roles which

require that the parent be present in order to fulfill the roles.

However, the development of such a wide distribution of responses

indicates a lack of sanctions for either parental position and sug-

gests instead a high degree of role ambiguity.


Sub-Sample Differences

In the previous chapter the possibility of sample bias was

noted due to the manner in which the fourth sub-sample was obtained.

This group consisted of men who had responded to a newspaper

article explaining the research and requesting volunteers to be

interviewed. It was noted by the telephone receptionists and the

















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79

interviewers that this group expressed a marked amount of resentment

concerning their divorce experience. This impression was confirmed

when analyzing the additional comments that respondents were invited

to make at the end of the interview. Almost three times as many

of this group accused the courts of bias against the male in divorce

proceedings as the other three sub-samples. They also mentioned

more frequently the negative effects of divorce on their ability to

assume parental responsibility. On the other hand, they did not

mention as frequently the negative effects of divorce on their per-

sonal well-being as did the county records sub-sample.

In examining the data for differences in these sub-samples

which might bias the findings, the first one (Epi-Center) was

dropped from the analysis since it only contained three cases. The

analysis is therefore of the second sub-sample (county records), the

third sub-sample (snow ball) and the fourth sub-sample (newspaper).

There were no statistically significant differences in the

three sub-samples regarding social class, religion or education.

In fact, the distribution of the three sub-samples on social class

was almost identical (p > .99). Race was not analyzed since 95% of

the total sample were Caucasian.

Sub-sample differences did appear in terms of two of the

dependent variables. As might be expected, fewer of the newspaper

and snow ball sub-samples had custody of one or more of their

children or had one or more of their children living with them.

Custody was held by 38.9% (7) of the newspaper group and 5.6% (1) of










the snow ball group compared with 55.6% (10) of the county records

groups. Having a child live with them involved only 35.0% (7) of

the newspaper sub-sample and 10.0% (2) of the snow ball sub-sample

as compared with 55.0% (11) of the county records group. Not only

was none of the cases large in number but none of the differences

was statistically significant. Since custody or living arrangements

are likely to be the cause of differences in attitudes toward the

court rather than an effect, these differences will not be con-

sidered further as an independent variable.

The newspaper sub-sample did show a statistically significant

effect on one of the categories of the dependent variable "frequency

of visits." The impact of this on the findings concerning the first

hypothesis will be discussed at the appropriate time.

All of the independent variables which will be used in the

analysis of the data were examined for sub-sample differences. None

demonstrated any statistically significant differences. In spite

of the complaints of the newspaper respondents about court biases,

differences between them and the other two samples on support and

visiting arrangements did not exceed 11 percentage points.


Summary Description of the Dependent
and Independent Variables

The following summarizes the significant findings of each of

the dependent and independent variables presented above.

1. Arrangements for visiting were more likely to be made by

mutual consent than through third party intervention. The frequency









81

of personal contacts between divorced fathers and their children are

associated with changes in marital status. Visiting frequency

reduces following the remarriage of either ex-spouse with the

remarriage of the ex-wife having a more noticeable effect than the

remarriage of the father. Arrangements for visiting were more likely

to be made by mutual consent. Changes in the frequency of mail and

phone contacts were less marked when examined by marital status.

They tend to increase after the remarriage of the ex-wife when com-

pared with their frequency at the time of the divorce.

2. Arrangements for child support were more likely to be made

through third parties than by mutual consent. The great majority of

respondents reported that they never missed a payment and more than

half maintained some type of insurance on their children. Requests

for extra funds were affected by the marital status of either

ex-spouse with the remarriage of the father resulting in an increase

in favorable response and the remarriage of the ex-wife resulting

in a decrease.

3. Relationships with the ex-wife generally moved toward a

reduction in hostile feelings and an increase in neutral or friendly

feelings. Attitudes of the ex-wife toward the continuing relation-

ship between fathers and children showed shifts both from support

to opposition and vice-versa between the time of the divorce and the

time of the interview.

4. Contacts with the ex-wife tended to remain active over

matters concerning the children but to eventually disappear over










matters concerning the adults. Contacts concerning the children

were less problematic if they involved institutionalized roles.

5. Attitudes of the present wife toward resources allocated to

the children of the first marriage and toward the ex-wife were

remarkably supportive. Any change was in the direction of improve-

ment.

6. Displeasure was expressed over the satisfaction to be found

in fathering after divorce. However, this did not seem to result

in reducing or abandoning the father role to any significant degree.

7. Dissatisfaction with child rearing practices does not seem

to be a significant factor as a cause of divorce.













CHAPTER VI

DATA ANALYSIS AND TEST OF THE HYPOTHESES


In this chapter the data relative to the three hypotheses will

be analyzed to determine whether the hypotheses will be accepted or

rejected. Each hypothesis will be restated, the pertinent data

reviewed and a finding of acceptance or rejection determined. In

each case this will be followed by an examination of other inde-

pendent variables which might be expected to have some affect on

the results which were achieved.


Test of the First Hypothesis

The first hypothesis proposed that both personal contacts with

the children and financial support will decrease with changes in

the marital status of either ex-spouse. By referring bac' to the

bottom half of Table 1 on page 44 it can be seen that there is an

increase in less frequent visiting and a decrease in more frequent

visiting with the assumption of a new marital status by either

ex-spouse. These differences are significant at the p < .05 level

(X2 = 14.31, d.f. = 3). The association is weak, however (Cramer's

V = .23). Mail contacts are used by only a third of the sample and

remain relatively stable. Phone contacts also remain relatively

stable but show some change opposite to the predicted direction by

increasing after the remarriage of the ex-wife (see Table 2 on page

46).











Of the several measures of financial support included in the

questionnaire only one measured support at the four marital statuses

employed in the study. This measured voluntary giving at the

request of either the child or the ex-wife. It was used since it

would provide a test of involvement free of legal coercion. By

re-examining Table 3 on page 52 it can be seen that the remarriage

of the father actually increases his favorable response to a request

for extra funds whether it comes from the child or the ex-wife.

After the remarriage of the ex-wife the favorable responses decrease

at the request of either the child or the ex-wife. However, none of

these differences reaches statistical significance.

The null hypothesis of no difference is rejected when using

frequency of visits as an indicator of personal contacts since visit-

ing does reduce at a statistically significant level with the remar-

riage of either ex-spouse. The null hypothesis is accepted, how-

ever, when using mail or phone contacts as a measure of personal

contact. The null hypothesis is also accepted when measuring vol-

untary support. The response is in the predicted direction for

visiting but shows no direction, or is in the opposite direction,

for mail and phone contacts and for support.


Examination of Additional Variables

In order to construct a model of visiting frequency that could

be entered into the computer and used to examine visiting frequency

by other variables, it was necessary to eliminate visiting length

from the data presented in the findings in Chapter V. This required










summarizing frequency of visits so that just the visiting mode

reflecting the greatest number of visits was used. In other words,

if a father had his children visit every month for a day and quar-

terly for a week, only the monthly visit was counted since it repre-

sented the greatest frequency. Therefore, the total n reported in

the following discussion will be less than that of the table in

Chapter V. The maximum reduction in n for any one marital status is

21. Since the trend of reducing visits for the remarriage statuses

is maintained any distortion will not substantially affect the valid-

ity of the findings.

Both the weakness of the association between visiting frequency

and common sense indicate that other factors may be operating in

the reduction of the number of visits between father and child.

Eleven independent variables were examined for their effect on

visiting frequency. Nine of these proved to be statistically not

significant although four showed directions of interest. The two

that achieved statistical significance were geographic distance and

the sub-sample differences.

The nine that failed to achieve significance were religion,

social class, continuity of support, degree of emotional difficulty

experienced by the father when visiting, the attitudes of the cur-

rent wife toward the ex-wife and toward the amount of time and money

allocated to the children, the relationship between the father and

the ex-wife and the extent to which the ex-wife supported or opposed

visiting. The four of these that showed directions of interest were










religion, social class, continuity of support and the ex-wife's

attitudes toward visiting. In the discussion which follows these

four variables will be treated first followed by the evidence on

the two significant variables.


Religion, Class, Support and Attitude Variables

Catholics visited more frequently than Protestants at all mari-

tal statuses. Differences were small at the separation and divorce

statuses but at the father's remarriage 76.9% (10) of the Catholics

visited more frequently compared to 51.6% (16) of the Protestants.

After the remarriage of the ex-wife 80.0% (4) of the Catholics

visited more frequently compared to 40.9% (9) of the Protestants.

After the remarriage of the ex-wife, Class I and II respondents

visited more frequently than Class III and IV respondents. Although

the total number of respondents in these four categories was only

28, the trend is unmistakable. In Classes I and II, 75.0% (3) and

70.0% (7) of the fathers visited more frequently compared with 30.0%

(3) of Class III and 25.05% (1) of Class IV.

While continuity of support did not have much affect on visit-

ing frequency at the separation and divorce status, after the remar-

riage of the father 62.9% (22) of those who never stopped payment

visited more frequently compared with 50.0% (7) of the fathers who

had stopped payment. After the remarriage of the ex-wife the con-

trast is even greater. Of those who had never stopped payment 52.4%

(11) visited more frequently compared with 37.5% (3) of the fathers

who had stopped payment.









87

The relationship between the father and the ex-wife also showed

no effect on visiting frequency at the time of the divorce. How-

ever, in terms of supporting the father's relationship with his

children, 84.2% (32) of fathers whose ex-wife supported the rela-

tionship visited more frequently compared with 65.7% (23) of those

whose ex-wife opposed the relationship. While this finding did not

attain statistical significance it approached significance at the .07

level. Unfortunately, it is not possible to compare this relation-

ship at the two remarried statuses since the questionnaire design

did not yield the necessary data.


Sub-sample and Geographic Variables

Sub-sample differences in visiting frequency did appear with

the newspaper group engaging in more frequent visits at all marital

statuses. However, these were only statistically significant for

the divorced status. The snow ball sub-sample, which only contained

ten cases, increased visiting after divorce and after the father's

remarriage. This group did not visit at all after the remarriage

of the ex-wife. However, both the newspaper and the county records

groups followed the expected trend. The newspaper group dropped in

frequency from 90.0% (29) at separation to 73.3% (14) at the remar-

riage of the father and to 62.5% (10) at the remarriage of the

ex-wife. The county records group went from 82.6% (19) to 44.0%

(11) and 33.3% (4) for the same statuses. Table 16 shows the dif-

ferences in the sub-samples for the divorced status only.










TABLE 16

SUB-SAMPLE DIFFERENCES IN VISITING FREQUENCY AT DIVORCE

County Records Snow Ball Newspaper

Frequency
of Visits % N* % N % N

Less Frequent (40.7) 11 (29.4) 5 (12.1) 4

More Frequent (59.3) 16 (70.6) 12 (87.9) 29

TOTALS (100.0) 27 (100.0) 17 (100.0) 33

*Number of Fathers

X2 = 6.46 with d.f. = 2, p < .05

Cramer's V = 2.9


Geographic distance was also examined as an independent var-

iable certain to have an effect on visiting frequency. Of those

fathers who did not have custody of their children 51.7% (46) lived

less than 50 miles away. Of the remainder 6.7% (6) lived between 51

and 150 miles, 5.6% (5) between 151 and 300 miles and 36.0% (32)

over 300 miles. Since the two intermediate distances contained only

11 cases combined, distance was dichotomized as "less than 150

miles" and "more than 151 miles."

The data in Table 17 indicate that when controlling for dis-

tance the trend toward visits in the more frequent category decrease

and visits in the less frequent category increase after the remar-

riage of either spouse. However, the change for those fathers liv-

ing further away is much greater than for those living closer. For

those living the greater distance more frequent visiting decreases

































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