Book Reviews -- Divorce: Theory and Research by Joseph Guttman

Article excerpt

The purpose of this book is threefold: (a) to offer a comprehensive view of divorce as a social, interpersonal, and psychological phenomenon; (b) to review the theory and research about divorce in the literature that focuses on the major protagonists of the divorce drama--the mother, the father, and the children; and (c) to introduce a new psychosocial theory of the divorce process. The author is a professor at the University of Haifa, in Israel.

Chapter 1 discusses divorce in its social context. Chapter 2 describes four models with different theoretical orientations, and their diverse psychological, social and practical dimensions. Chapter 3 presents a new psychosocial theory of the divorce process, and includes the author's clinical observations and research. Chapter 4 is a discussion of divorced mothers, while chapter 5 covers divorced fathers. Chapter 6 and 7 review existing findings related to children of divorced persons. The nearly 375 references are primarily related to the American scene and cover the 1965-1991 period. Although it is quite easy in the 1990s to access references through the use of various data bases, it is refreshing and handy to have a volume that intensely reviews the literature.

Over the past 20 years, we have seen an explosion of divorce research in the United States. On a cross-cultural basis, American data overshadows the output of the other English-speaking industrialized countries. Seventy percent of the discussion in this book is devoted to a comprehensive critical review of the literature, and the rest is related to theoretical formulations of the topic at hand.

In reading this creative and scholarly review of divorce studies one can only congratulate the author on performing a herculean task. It would have, however, improved each chapter if a concise conclusion or overview of the multitopical bibliographic items would have been included. …