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Silverman, M.A. (1992). Second Chances. Men, Women and Children a Decade after Divorce: By Judith S. Wallerstein, Ph.D. and Sandra Blakeslee. New York: Ticknor and Fields, 1989. 325 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 61:648-653.

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(1992). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 61:648-653

Second Chances. Men, Women and Children a Decade after Divorce: By Judith S. Wallerstein, Ph.D. and Sandra Blakeslee. New York: Ticknor and Fields, 1989. 325 pp.

Review by:
Martin A. Silverman

The current high rate of divorce in the United States and the detrimental effects of divorce, especially upon children, make this an important book. The senior author, Judith Wallerstein, founded the Center for the Family in Transition, in Corte Madera, California, in 1980, and continues to be its Executive Director. Her coauthor, Sandra Blakeslee, draws upon her experience as a freelance science and medical writer for newspapers and magazines to shape the style of the book so as to appeal to the public at large rather than only to professional readers.

The book reports upon findings at the ten-year mark of an ongoing study of the impact of divorce upon sixty, largely middle-class, white families that was begun in 1971. One hundred and thirty-one children, aged two to eighteen at the time of the divorce, were involved. The book begins with some general remarks upon the psychological effects of divorce. This section is rather brief. The bulk of the volume is devoted to the stories of the post-divorce life experiences of a dozen or so of the families (three in particular), as they emerged in the course of follow-up interviews (two to four hours with each person) carried out after five and especially after ten years. They are supplemented by vignettes pertaining to some of the other fifty families. General observations on the impact of divorce upon the parties involved are intercalated into the narratives from time to time, but the message that comes through derives largely from the illustrative stories.

A host of significant impressions about the effects of divorce emerge from the study. Space limitations permit sharing only a sampling of them. The remaining spouse's feelings of loss and

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