Appraisals of Negative Events by Preadolescent Children of Divorce

Virgil Sheets, Irwin Sandler, Stephen West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


This study investigated the appraisals of the significance of negative events made by 256 preadolescent children of divorce. Appraisals were assessed by a 24-item self-report scale. Confirmatory factor analysis of this scale found support for a 3-dimensional model: negative self-appraisal, negative other-appraisal, and material loss. Differentiation between the dimensions of appraisal increased with age in both cross-sectional and over-time data. Evidence for convergent and discriminant validity of the self-report measure of appraisals was found with scores derived from children's open-ended descriptions of their appraisals. Cross-sectional structural equation models found significant paths between negative appraisal and psychological symptoms, over and above the direct effects of the traditional life event measure of stress. Structural equation modeling of longitudinal (5.5 months) data found a significant path from Time 1 appraisal to Time 2 anxiety for the older children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2166-2182
Number of pages17
JournalChild development
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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