Tuesday, March 29, 2011

EX WIVES: Often care for former spouses, MU researchers find

COLUMBIA, 3/26/11  (Beat Byte) --  Ex-wives often care for their former husbands during serious illnesses and other life-altering events, say Teresa Cooney and Christine Proulx (below) of the University of Missouri, Columbia department of human development and family services.  
"A surprising number of the women reported continued involvement with their ex-husbands post-divorce," Cooney (left) explained.   "To date, our study is the first to examine this form of caregiving.  Initial findings suggest that it is more common than expected."
Through telephone interviews with divorced caregivers, Cooney and Proulx identified characteristics and motivations unique to this unusual subset of ex-spouses.   One primary motivator:  a desire to maintain relationships with children. 
"It appears that having shared children with an ex might facilitate emotional attachment," Cooney said. "Women also might try to shield their children from the demands of caregiving."

Another benefit of continued involvement:  ex-husbands "softened" during illness, many women reported, and the conflict of years gone by was greatly reduced, Cooney said.   

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