Stress and Coping of Midlife Women in Divorce Transition

This article describes stress and coping by decider status. Participants were 154 women aged 34 to 54 years who were recently divorced from their first marriage and were married 3 years prior to divorce. Participants self-selected into decider statuses as initiators, noninitiators, or mutual deciders. Noninitiators indicated not knowing the divorce experience was going to occur, not having enough time to get ready for it, saw it as something someone else did, and perceived it as a threat. Initiators and mutual deciders viewed the divorce as a challenge. Noninitiators were less positive about the divorce experience than were initiators and mutual deciders. Acceptance or resignation differed significantly for noninitiators and mutual deciders but not between noninitiators and initiators. Characterizing midlife divorce transition experiences provides a foundation for developing primary intervention to support personal growth, healing, and a healthy lifestyle.