Psychological overinvolvement, emotional distress, and daily affect following marital dissolution


Journal Article

© 2019 The Author(s). Martial dissolution is associated with risk for poor mental health outcomes, but less is known about the variables and processes that may explain this risk. In a sample of recently-separated adults (N = 138), this study examined the association of psychological overinvolvement—assessed using a composite of self-reported rumination, language use, and judge-rated recounting and reconstruing—with daily affect and psychological distress. We included objective measures of sleep, behavioral displays of distress, and social engagement as potential mediators of these associations. Consistent with the preregistered hypotheses, greater psychological overinvolvement predicted higher levels of psychological distress, lower happiness, and greater sadness five months later. Psychological overinvolvement also predicted change in sadness, but not happiness or psychological distress, over five months. Contrary to our predictions, none of the candidate mediators explained these associations. Exploratory analyses suggested that the self-reported rumination component of the psychological overinvolvement composite largely accounted for the association between psychological overinvolvement and the three outcomes. People’s tendency to become overinvolved in their psychological experience after divorce predicts increased risk for distress in the months following marital separation.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bourassa, KJ; Tackman, AM; Mehl, MR; Sbarra, DA

Published Date

  • January 1, 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 5 / 1

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2474-7394

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1525/collabra.184

Citation Source

  • Scopus