Study of the Lived Experience of Divorced and Divorced Couples in Ahvaz and Development of a Divorce Prevention Education Package

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Ph.D. Student in counseling, Department of Counseling, Khomeinishahr Branch, Islamic Azad University, KhomeiniShahr, Isfahan, Iran.

2 Professor, Department of Counseling, Faculty of Eduction and Psychology, Shahid Chamran University Ahvaz, Ahvaz, Iran.

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Counseling, KhomeiniShahr Branch, Islamic Azad University, KhomeiniShahr, Isfahan, Iran.



Increasing divorce rates and family separation can lead to social harm in communities. High divorce rates have numerous direct and indirect economic, social and cultural consequences. In Iran, the spread of this issue has caused concerns among psychologists and other experts, as the experience of couples at risk of divorce and divorced couples can pave the way for understanding the reasons behind divorce. The present study aims to investigate the lived experience of couples at risk of divorce and divorced couples in Ahvaz and to develop a divorce prevention training package. Thus, samples of the present study, based on a qualitative approach and grounded theory method, were selected via purposive sampling method from all men and women who applied for divorce or were divorced in Ahvaz; sample members reached theoretical saturation with 32 participants (18 women and 14 men). The results obtained from the interviews based on Strauss and Corbin (1998) model were analyzed in three stages of open, axial and selective coding. The results included 126 free codes which were reduced to 15 concepts after the final analysis; and finally, 5 main categories were extracted. In the axial coding stage, marital dissatisfaction was identified as the central category and a relationship model was drawn among the categories. In the selective coding stage, three general training codes including training for acceptance, training for change, and training for cognition were extracted, based on which the final training package was designed.


Akhavi Samarin, Z., Zahrakar, K., Mohsenzadeh, F., & Khudabakhsh, A. (2017). Investigating the underlying factors of divorce in the socio-cultural context of Tehran. PhD Thesis in Counseling, Kharazmi University of Tehran. (Persian).
Alavi, T. S., Moghaddamzadeh, A., Mazaheri, M. A., Afrooz, Gh. A., Hejazi, G., Salehi, S. (2019). “Representation of the components of divorce probability: a phenomenological study”, Clinical Psychology and Counseling Research, 8 (2): 832-61. (Persian).
Arefi, M., Azarafrooz, M., & Toofani, F. (2017). Assessing the level of marital conflict and marital instability-the possibility of divorce in maladapted couples in Rasht affected by life skills training. International Congress on Mental Health Management and Psychological Sciences, University of Tehran. (Persian).
Aslani, K., Jamei, M., & Rajabi, Gh. (2015). “The effectiveness of communication illustration training on the quality of marital relationships of couples”, Journal of Applied Psychology, 9 (4 consecutive 36): 53-37. (Persian).
Attar, F., Bani Asadi, H., & Rahmati, A. (2018). Divorce correlations based on years of cohabitation of the couple seeking divorce. Master Thesis in Family Counseling, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman. (Persian).
Azadi, Sh., Corporate, S., Qahramani, Z., & Gholipour, G. (2010). “Evaluation of social factors underlying emotional divorce among female employees of Gachsaran Oil Exploitation Company”, Women and Health, 1 (3): 101-117. (Persian).
Azizi, A., Esmaili, R., Dehghan Manshadi, S. M., Ismaili, S. (2016). “The effectiveness of life skills training on marital satisfaction of couples seeking divorce”, Iranian Journal of Nursing, 39 (99): 23-33. (Persian).
Bahari, F., Fatehizadeh, M., Ahmadi, S. A., Mawlawi, H., & Bahrami, F. (2011). “The effect of spouses' communication skills training on reducing marital conflicts in conflicting couples seeking divorce”, Clinical Psychology and Counseling Research, 1 (1): 59-70. (Persian).
Banki Pourfard, A. H., & Masoudiya, Z. (2015). “Qualitative study of the experiences of divorced men and women from the cultural factors underlying divorce”, Applied Sociology, 26 (57): 64-39. (Persian)
Brown, SL., Lin, IF., Hammersmith, AM., & Wright, MR. (2019). “Repartnering Following Gray Divorce: The Roles of Resources and Constraints for Women and Men”, Demography, 56(2): 503-523. Doi: 10.1007/s13524-018-0752-x.
Carroll, JS., Nelson, DA., Yorgason ,JB., Harper, JM., Ashton, RH., & Jensen, AC. (2010). “Relational aggression in marriage”, Aggressive Behavior, 36(5): 315-329.
Chaboki, O., & Zarean, M. (2018). “Relationship between social and family factors and women's attitudes toward divorce in Qom”, Women and Society, 9 (4): 96-73. (Persian).
Clifford, CE. (2013). Attachment and Covert Relational Aggression in Marriagewith Shame as a Potential Moderating Variable: A Two Wave Panel Study.
Crowley, JE. (2019). Gray divorce: Explaining midlife marital splits. J Women Aging, 31(1):49-72. Doi: 10.1080/08952841. 2017.1409918.
Curtis, DS., Epstein, NB., Wheeler, B. (2015). “Relationship Satisfaction Mediates the Link Between Partner Aggression and Relationship Dissolution The Importance of Considering Severity”, Journal of interpersonal violence. 1-22.
Darab, M., Bahrami, F., Ahmadi, S. A., & Jazayeri, R. S. (2014). “Investigating the causes of marital boredom and individual skills of marital relations from the perspective of Islam. First Congress of Educational Sciences and Social Injuries”, Tehran: University of Tehran. (Persian)
Dargahi, M., & Piranvand, A. (2019). “The Impacts of Economic and Social Factors on Divorce Rate in Iran with Emphasis on Business Cycles, Women's Education and Employment”, Journal of Economics and Modeling, 9: 95-120. (Persian).
Dixon, DC. (2013). Christian spirituality and marital health: A phenomenological study of long-term marriages. A doctoral dissertation in Counseling. Liberty University.
Ebrahimi, F., Vakili, P., & Dokkanei Fard, F. (2018). “The interactive effect of gender with emotion-oriented couple therapy on marital burnout”, Journal of Social Health, 5 (4): 318-311. (Persian).
Fellows, KJ., Chiu, HY., Hill, EJ., & Hawkins, AJ. (2016). “Work–family conflict and couple relationship quality: a met-analytic study”, Journal of Family and Economic Issue, 37(4):509-18.
Ghasemi, A., & Sarukhani, B. (2014). “Social factors of divorce and social mental health in couples seeking consensual and non-consensual divorce”, Cultural-Educational Quarterly of Women and Family, 8 (35): 21-37. (Persian)
Grant, M.J., & Pike, I. (2019). “Divorce, living arrangements, and material well-being during the transition to adulthood in rural Malawi”, Popul Stud (Camb), 73(2):261-275. Doi: 10.1080/00324728.2018.1545919.
Guba, EG., & Lincoln, YS. (1989). Mixing Qualitive and Quantitative Methods: Triangulation in Action. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Guttmann, J. (1993). Divorce in psychosocial perspective: Theory and research. Psychology Press.
Hayati, M., & Soleimani, S. (2019). “The consequences of divorce for the divorced person: a qualitative study”, Ghasemi Rooyesh-e-Ravanshenasi Journal(RRJ), 7: 273-288. (Persian).
Hosseini Birjandi, S. M. (2017). Advice on the eve of marriage. Tehran: Avaye Noor Publications. Fifth Edition. (Persian).
Jamison, E.C., Bol, K.A., & Mintz, S.N. (2018). Analysis of the Effects on Time between Divorce Decree and Suicide. Crisis. 26:1-8. Doi: 10.1027/0227-5910/a000563.
Lampraki, C., Jopp, D.S., Spini, D., & Morselli, D. (2019). “Social Loneliness after Divorce: Time-Dependent Differential Benefits of Personality, Multiple Important Group Memberships”, and Self-Continuity. Gerontology, 65(3):275-287. Doi: 10.1159/000494112.
Maubrigades, S. (2015). “Connections between womens age at marriage and social and economic development”, JEL Classification Number, 36(1): 1-36.
Michalitsianis, N. (2014). Resiliency: A resource for promoting marriage satisfaction. Master dissertation in Marriage & Family Therapy. Kean University.
Mirzaei, P., & Khodabakhshi Kolaie; A. (2018). with the aim of examining the views and experiences of divorced women regarding child custody. Master Thesis in Family Counseling, Khatam Non-governmental University. (Persian)
Mohammadsadegh, A., Sheriff, S. M., & Naimi, E. (2017). “Experience of sexual problems in wGholizadeh, Azar, omen seeking divorce and satisfied with cohabitation: a qualitative study”, Journal of Qualitative Research in Health Sciences, 7 (1): 47-35. (Persian).
Moshki, M., Shah Ghasemi, Z., Delshad Noghabi, A., & Muslim, A. (2011). “A Study of the Status and Factors Related to Divorce from the Perspective of Divorced Couples in Gonabad”, Ofogh-e Danesh, 17 (1): 12-29. (Persian).
Nemati, M., Dukanehi Fard, F., & Behboodi, M., (2020). “Comparison of the effectiveness of three methods of treatment based on acceptance and commitment, emotional therapy and integrated therapy on the spiritual well-being of families referring to counseling centers in Sari: Experimental study”, research in religion and health, 6 (1): 87-99. (Persian).
Niazi, K., He, G., Chaudhry, W., Awan, T.M., & Ullah, S. (2018). Women's Narratives of Marital and Divorce Issues and Impact on their Health. J Relig Health. Doi: 10.1007/s10943-018-00741-2.
Sadat Goli, Z., Mir Seififard, L. S., & Hassanzadeh, H. (2018). “The effectiveness of coping skills training on cognitive emotion”, regulation and post-divorce adjustment in divorced women, 61 (6), 296-308. (Persian).
Sbarra, D. A., Hasselmo, K., & Bourassa, K. J. (2015). “Divorce and health: Beyond individual differences”, Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24(2) 109-113.
Strauss, A., & Carbin, J. (1998). Fundamentals of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Stages of Production of Underlying Theory (Second Edition). Translated by Ibrahim Aqshar (2018). Tehran: Ney Publishing. Sixth edition. (Persian).
Strizzi, JM., Sander, S., Ciprić, A., & Hald, GM. (2019). "I Had Not Seen Star Wars" and Other Motives for Divorce in Denmark. J Sex Marital Ther. 23:1-10. doi: 10.1080/0092623X. 2019.1641871.
Tafreshi, M., Amiri Majd, M., & Jafari, A. (2013). “The effect of anger management skills training in reducing domestic violence and improving marital satisfaction”, Family Studies, 9 (35): 310-299. (Persian)
Taheri, M., & Ali Akbari Dehkordi, M. (2018). Predicting emotional divorce based on sexual intimacy and sexual fulfillment. Sixth Scientific Research Congress on Development and Promotion of Educational Sciences and Psychology in Iran. Tehran: Association for the Development and Promotion of Basic Sciences and Technologies. (Persian).
Veenhoven, R. (2013) .Data book of happiness. Reidel publishing company: New York.
Williamson, HC., Nguyen, TP., Bradbury, TN., & Karney, BR. (2015). Are problems that contribute to divorce present at the start of marriage, or do they emerge over time? Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 1–15. DOI: 10.1177/0265407515617705.
Willoughby, BJ. (2013). Marital attitude trajectories across adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 39: 1305-1317.
Yang, M., & Long, L. L. (1998). Counseling and therapy for couples. New York: Brook/Cool Publishing Company.
Younesi, J., Abbasi Asl, M., Khazan, K., & Katemi, J. (2016). “The effectiveness of acceptance and commitment training on reducing emotional failure in women at risk of divorce”, Social Work, 5 (2):13-5. (Persian)
Zamani Zarchi, M. S., Lavasani, M., & Samadi, S. (2018). Children and divorce. Tehran: Pendar Ghalam. (Persian).