Date of Award

Spring 1998

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Psychology

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to determine if children of divorced families were more aggressive than the children of non-divorced families, and also to determine if divorce groups would reduce the incidence of that aggression. Twenty-eight children from Radley School in Helena, Montana, were observed during the morning and lunch recesses from March 9, to March 13, 1998. Twenty of the subjects were randomly selected from the first and second grade classes and were then grouped together according to a divorced or non divorced home. The remaining eight subjects were predetermined. These children had been referred to, and had completed the divorce group offered by the school counselor. The subjects' playground behavior was then observed and assessed on a four-point scale, (0=no aggression, l=aggressive play, 2=verbal aggression, 3=physical aggression), and tested according to their group placement. A one way anova was conducted and revealed significance between groups in verbal and physical aggression. Post hoc tests suggested that the divorce group was consistently more aggressive in both physical and verbal aggression when compared to the divorce with group and non divorced subjects. Independent T tests showed that there were significant differences found between gender in physical aggression, suggesting that the boys were more aggressive than the girls. The results of this study suggest that aggressive tendencies in children are dependent upon the child's divorce experience and whether a child of divorce completed a school divorce group. The further implications of these findings will be discussed throughout the paper in more detail.