Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Geoffrey Nelson

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Twenty-one Catholic Italian divorcees and a matched group of twenty-one Catholic Anglophone divorcees (who were born in Canada and whose ethnic roots were in Great Britain) were studied to determine ethnic differences in family concept, family interaction, sex role orientation, and social support. Results showed that Italian fathers, but not mothers, disapproved of the divorce significantly more than Anglophone fathers. Parental approval/disapproval of the divorce was found to have a greater effect on the support received by Italian divorcees than Anglophone divorcees. Parental disapproval of the divorce was associated with less family and relative support for Italian divorcees only. Italian divorcees reported a more extended family experience than Anglophone divorcees. Twice as many Italian as Anglophone divorcees reported having had family or relatives living with them when they were growing up. Italian divorcees also reported greater family loyalty than Anglophone divorcees. They visited their parents significantly more than Anglophone divorcees and although not statistically significant, Italian divorcees telephoned their parents more frequently than Anglophone divorcees. Results indicated that Italian divorcees have a more extended concept of family, as opposed to nuclear, than Anglophone divorcees. They included more extended family members such as grandparents, aunts, and uncles, in their family than Anglophone divorcees. No differences were found between the two groups in terms of density of social support network. Almost no correlation was found between density and satisfaction for Anglophone divorcees, but an inverse correlation between these two variables was found for Italian Divorcees. Anglophones received more emotional support outside the family and were slightly more satisfied with the emotional support they received than Italian divorcees. No significant differences were found for: material help, advice, approval, tangible help, or social recreation between the two ethnic groups on outside family support. No ethnic differences were found between the two groups on sex role orientation. Both groups scored nontraditional on the Sex Role Attitude Scale. It was recommended that more emphasis be placed on the social support aspect of networks for divorcees. It was also recommended that more research be conducted in the area of kinship interaction after divorce, particularly with Italians. Italians seem to have a more extended family, yet they seem to receive less support from their family and relatives and are somewhat less satisfied with the support they do receive than Anglophones. Furthermore, they receive less support from outside the family members than Anglophone divorcees. Thus, were do Italian divorcees go for support? This is an area that needs more investigation since more Italians are getting divorced.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season