Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Radhika Krishnamurthy

Second Advisor

Scott A. Gustafson

Third Advisor

Catherine Nicholson

Fourth Advisor

Robert A. Taylor


Research has shown parental divorce to have long-term impacts on various domains of children’s interpersonal functioning, extending into young adulthood and beyond. The purpose of this study was to assess the potential impacts of parental divorce in college students using the Social Cognition and Object Relations Scale-Global (SCORS-G) with narratives derived from the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT). SCORS-G variables of interest included composite, factor, and dimension scores. Two additional measures of rejection sensitivity, which has been shown to be impacted by parental divorce, and perceived social support, which may mitigate maladaptive outcomes in interpersonal functioning, were also examined. The primary sample for this study consisted of 82 college students subdivided into parental divorce (n = 41) and no-divorce (n = 41) subsamples. A smaller secondary clinical sample (n = 13) was also included to allow for a clinical comparison. It was hypothesized that the clinical sample would obtain more pathological SCORS-G mean scores than the college sample, which was supported by the MANOVA result; univariate analyses showed this result supported for 4 out of 12 indices selected for analysis. The parental divorce subgroup of the college sample was expected to obtain more pathological mean scores on selected SCORS-G indices than the no-divorce subgroup. ANOVA results showed statistically significant differences

between the subgroups for SCORS-G mean scores on Affective Quality of Representations (AFF), Emotional Investment in Relationships (EIR), Experience and Management of Aggressive Impulses (AGG), Self-Esteem (SE), Self factor, Affective- Relational factor, and the Composite score, with the divorce group scoring significantly lower (i.e., in the more pathological direction), providing partial support for the hypotheses. Pearson Product Moment correlations showed Rejection Sensitivity Questionnaire (RSQ) mean scores were unrelated to SCORS-G scores for both subgroups. Multiple small-to-medium effect size correlations were found between SCORS-G dimension and factor scores (Complexity of Representations (COM), Understanding of Social Causality (SC), Self-esteem (SE), Identity, and Coherence of Self Identity (ICS), Cognitive factor, and Self factor) and the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support’s (MSPSS) Significant Other and Family subscales (EIR and SE) for both groups. Implications of these findings were discussed.


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