Divorced Coparents' Use of Communication Technology

Divorced Coparents' Use of Communication Technology

Ashton Chapman (University of Missouri, USA), Lawrence H. Ganong (University of Missouri, USA) and Marilyn Coleman (University of Missouri, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8239-9.ch021
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Advancements in technology have resulted in widespread use of communication technologies, particularly in families. Most research on the use of communication technologies in families, however, has ignored family structure. Communication has been identified as a key contributor to coparental efficacy, particularly in postdivorce families, and some research indicates that coparents may rely on communication technologies to interact with one another. The limited research on divorced coparents' use of communication technology has found that coparents' use of technology may vary based upon coparental relationship quality and relevant contextual factors (e.g., repartnering of one or both coparents). Additional research is needed to understand the factors that influence coparents' decisions about communication technology and the influence of technology as means of communication on parents' and children's well-being.
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Current Scientific Knowledge In Divorced Coparents’ Use Of Communication Technology

Postdivorce families with children provide a salient context in which to study the use of communication technology. Each year one million children experience the divorce of their parents (Kreider, 2007). The courts increasingly award joint legal and physical custody following divorce, which means that coparents are expected to work together to make decisions about their children and sharing responsibilities for childrearing while residing in separate households (Ahrons, 2007; Miller, 2009). Being able to work together is important for divorced coparents - coparental relationship quality is related to the well-being of children and parents (Buchanan, Maccoby, & Dornbusch, 1996; Sandler, Miles, Cookston, & Braver, 2008) and to the quality of parent-child relationships (Amato & Sobolweski, 2004), particularly for non-residential parents and children (Sobolewski & King, 2005).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Coparenting: The sharing of duties related to childrearing, particularly amongst separated/divorced couples.

Divorce: The legal dissolution of a marriage.

Asynchronous Communication: Communication that occurs intermittently over extended periods of time (e.g., email).

Communication Technology: Any electronic device or application that allows for information to be exchanged between two or more parties.

Nonresidential Parent: The parent who does not live with his/her child(ren), but who often maintains a legal and/or financial responsibility to the child(ren).

Synchronous Communication: Communication occurs at the same time (e.g., phone call).

Family Structure: The composition and membership of a family; patterns of family relationships.

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