Relief and distress as responses to the termination of marriage are examined in a study of a nonprobability sample of 205 individuals in central Pennsylvania. Respondents were interviewed in depth soon after their final separation. Retrospective measures are used to assess the rewards and costs of ending marriage from three sources-attrations in marriage, external pressures to remain married, and alternative attractions. Response to marital termination is assessed by subjective changes in emotional and behavioral symptoms since separation. Response groups include relief, as well as distress and no change. Discriminant analysis demonstrates that 24 percent of the differences in response group membership can be explained by the variables representing the terminal stage of marriage. The results show that relief is a frequent response to marital separation and that group differences in response are associated with the rewards and costs of ending a marriage.
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