School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Todd Schultz


Spiritual stress, spiritual struggle, spiritual coping, spiritual recovery




The purpose of this hermeneutical phenomenological study was to describe the impact of divorce on the spirituality of people 50 and older whose marriages end after three or more years. Divorce is painful at any age, but this study focused on how people 50 and older who have lived by their spiritual beliefs for most of their lives were impacted. The study applied life-span theory, life course theory, and developmental psychology, as they offered integrated empirical guidance in studying human behavioral changes throughout a person's life. These theories provided a framework for exploring the central research question: How do participants at the age of 50 and older who were married for three years or more describe the impact of divorce on Fisher's (2010) four domains of spiritual well-being in their first-year post-divorce? Interview questions were designed to support the central and guiding question to acquire descriptions of the participants' lived experiences with spiritual belief, spiritual practice, spiritual stress, and spiritual coping after divorce. The study developed 11 themes that address the problem at hand using interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) (Brocki & Wearden, 2006; Smith et al., 2009), emotional coding, value coding, and In Vivo coding (Saldaña, 2021). The data were collected using semi-structured interviews. The study results showed that the participants did experience an impact on their spiritual well-being in each of Fisher's domains except the environmental domain. However, all of the participants using methods of spiritual coping were able to spiritually recover. Keywords: divorce, spirituality, spiritual stress, spiritual coping, spiritual recovery

Included in

Counseling Commons