Effectiveness of Training Self-Differentiation on the Aggression and Experiential Avoidance in the Adolescents Engaged In Divorce with Externalized Behavior

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD Student in General Psychology, Islamic Azad University, Shahrekord Branch, Shahrekord, Iran.

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Islamic Azad University, Shahrekord Branch, Shahrekord, Iran.

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Shahrekord Branch, Islamic Azad University, Shahrekord, Iran.

4 Department of Psychology-Human science Faculty- Islamic Azad University Branch Shahrekord-Sahrekord-Iran


Introduction and purpose: Divorce is a phenomenon which disturbs the mental and emotional health of the adolescents and it might lead to the emergence of externalized behaviors in them. therefore, the present study was conducted to investigate the effectiveness of training self-differentiation on the aggression and experiential avoidance in the adolescents engaged in divorce with externalized behavior.
Material and methods: It was a quasi-experimental study with pretest, posttest, control group and two-month follow-up design. The statistical population of the present study included the students engaged in divorce with externalized behaviors who were studying in the first and second year high schools in academic year 2019-20 in the city of Shahrekord. 40 adolescents were selected through purposive sampling mehtod and they were randomly accommodated into experimental and control groups. The experimental group received ten ninety-minute intervention sessions of training self-differentiation during two-and-a-half   months. After starting the intervention, 4 adolescents from the experimental and 3 from the control group quitted receiving the intervention. The applied questionnaires in this study included children and adolescents behavioral inventory, aggression questionnaire and acceptance and action questionnaire. The data from the study were analyzed through repeated measurement ANOVA by SPSS software version 23.
Findings : the resutls showed that training self-differentiation has significant effect on the aggression (0.59) and experiential avoidance (0.64) in the adolescents engaged in divorce with externalized behaviors (p<0.001).
Conclusion : The findings of the present study revealed that training self-differentiation can be used as an efficient method to decrease aggression and experiential avoidance in the adolescents engaged in divorce wiht externalized divorce through employing techniques such as differentiating rational from irrational beliefs, equipping the members with special communicative skills and shouldering the responsibility.


1. Khodadadi J, Kolaei A. Developing a Conceptual Model of Marital Satisfaction in a Healthy Family Based on
Cultural Context, Journal of Culture of Counseling and Psychotherapy. 2021; 11(41): 27-60. (In Persian)
2. Gharedaghi E, Mobini Kesheh F. Comparison of self-concept, gender role and emotional maturity in children with
and without parental divorce experience, Quarterly Journal of Counseling Culture and Psychotherapy. 2021;
11(42): 231-260. (In Persian)
3. Khalid A, Qadir F, Chan SWY, Schwannauer M. Parental bonding and adolescents’ depressive and anxious
symptoms in Pakistan, Journal of Affective Disorders. 2018; 228: 60-37.
4. Sorek Y. Children of divorce evaluate their quality of life: The moderating effect of psychological processes.
Children and Youth Services Review. 2019; 107: 104-109.
5. Stokkebekk J. Keeping balance”, “Keeping distance” and Keeping on with life: Child positions in divorced families
with prolonged conflicts. Children and Youth Services Review. 2019; 102: 108-119.
6. Stapp EK, Wilcox HC. Parental bipolar disorder, family environment, and offspring psychiatric disorders. A
systematic review. 2020; 268: 69-81.
7. Tremblay M, Daignault IV, Fontaine NMG, Boisvert I, Tourigny M. School-aged children with sexual behavior
problems: Untangling the relationship between externalizing behavior problems and non-sexual victimization
on the variety and severity of sexual behaviors. Child Abuse & Neglect. 2020; 107: 104-108.
8. Landers AL, Bellamy JL, Danes SM, Hawk SW. Internalizing and externalizing behavioral problems of American
Indian children in the child welfare system. Children and Youth Services Review. 2017; 81: 413-421.
9. Timothy A, Benegal V, Shankarappa B, Saxena S, Jain S, Purushottam M. Influence of early adversity on cortisol
reactivity, SLC6A4 methylation and externalizing behavior in children of alcoholics. Progress in NeuroPsychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry. 2019; 94: 109-113.
10. Farmer RF, Gau JM, Seeley JR, Kosty DB, Sher KJ, Lewinsohn PM. Internalizing and externalizing disorders as
predictors of alcohol use disorder onset during three developmental periods. Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
2016; 164: 38-46.
11. Santos G, Farrington DP, Agra C, Cardoso CS. Parent-teacher agreement on children’s externalizing behaviors:
Results from a community sample of Portuguese elementary-school children. Children and Youth Services
Review. 2020; 110: 104-109.
12. Sheridan K, Haight WL, Cleeland L. The role of grandparents in preventing aggressive and other externalizing
behavior problems in children from rural, methamphetamine-involved families. Children and Youth Services
Review. 2011; 33(9): 1583-1591.
13. Shechtman Z, Tutian R. Teachers treat aggressive children: An outcome study. Teaching and Teacher Education.
2016; 58: 28-34.
14. Martin SE, Boekamp JR, McConville DW, Wheeler EE. Anger and sadness perception in clinically refereed
preschoolers: Emotion processes and externalizing behavior symptoms. Child Psychiatry Human
Development. 2009; 4(1): 30-46.
15. Pears KC, Kim HK, Fisher PA. Effects of a school readiness intervention for children in foster care on oppositional
and aggressive behaviors in kindergarten. Children and Youth Services Review. 2012; 34(12): 2361-2366.
16. Lozovska J, Gudaitė G. The Understanding of Aggression Motivation and the Psychotherapy Process. Procedia -
Social and Behavioral Sciences. 2013; 82: 360-365.
17. Smith-Greenaway E, Clark S. Variation in the link between parental divorce and children’s health disadvantage in
low and high divorce settings. SSM - Population Health. 2017; 3: 473-486.
18. Williams JL, Hardt MM, Henschel AV, Eddinger JR. Experiential avoidance moderates the association between
motivational sensitivity and prolonged grief but not posttraumatic stress symptoms. Psychiatry Research. 2019;
273: 336-342.
19. Kirk A, Meyer JM, Whisman,MA, Deacon BJ, Arch JJ. Safety behaviors, experiential avoidance, and anxiety: A
path analysis approach. Journal of Anxiety Disorders. 2019; 64: 9-15.
20. Leys C, Arnal C, Kotsou I, Van Hecke E, Fossion P. Pre-eminence of parental conflicts over parental divorce
regarding the evolution of depressive and anxiety symptoms among children during adulthood. European
Journal of Trauma & Dissociation. 2019; 4(1): 1001-1005.
21. Kazemian S, Esmaeeli M. Effectiveness of the Self-Differentiation Training in Reducing the Degree of Anxiety in
the Children of Divorced Parents. RPH. 2013; 6(4): 53-59. (In Persian)
22. Karkhaneh P, Jazayeri R, Bahrami F, Fatehizadeh M. The effect of Bowen's self-differentiation education on the
courage of married women in Isfahan. Journal of Personality and Individual Differences. 2015; 4(7): 167-183.
(In Persian)
23. Rezaeinezhad N, Moradi O, Hasani R, Sajadi P. Predicting Alexithymia based on Parental Health, Self
Differentiation and Emotional Cognitive Regulation among High School Students. Zanko J Med Sci. 2018;
19(61): 32-42. (In Persian)
24. Torkhan M. Predicting of Psychological Well-Being through Defence Mechanisms and Cognitive SelfDifferentiation in Students. Quarterly Journal of Social Cognition. 2018; 7(2): 145-185. (In Persian)
25. Mohammadi MR. The effectiveness of self-differentiation training on emotion regulation, emotional processing and
self-concept of students with divorced parents, Master Thesis, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan Branch. 2018.
(In Persian)
26. Heydari R, Hobbi MB. Effectiveness of teaching self-differentiation on psychological distress and social adaptation
in the adolescents with divorced parents. Social Psychology Research. 2019; 8(31): 103-117. (In Persian)
27. Liu SW, Luo L, Wu M, Wang R, Wu Y. Correlation between self-differentiation and professional adaptability
among undergraduate nursing students in China. International Journal of Nursing Sciences. 2016; 3(4): 394-
28. Doba K, Berna G, Constant E, Nandrino J. Self-differentiation and eating disorders in early and middle adolescence:
A cross-sectional path analysis. Eating Behaviors. 2018; 29: 75-82.
29. Kim KL, Galione J, Schettini E, DeYoung LLA, Gilbert AC, Jenkins GA, Barthelemy CM, MacPherson HA,
Radoeva PD, Kudinova AY, Dickstein DP. Do styles of emotion dysregulation differentiate adolescents
engaging in non-suicidal self-injury from those attempting suicide? Psychiatry Research. 2020; 291: 113-117.
30. Whiffen V. Disentangling causality in the association between couple and family processes and depression. In J. L.
Lebow., & W. M. Pinsof. (Eds.), Family Psychology: The art of the science (pp. 375-396). London: Oxford
University Press. 2012.
31. Peleg O. The relation between differentiation of self and marital satisfaction: what can be learned from married
people over the course of life? The American journal of family therapy. 2008; 36: 388-401.
32. Buss AH, Perry M. The Aggression Questionnaire. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1992; 63: 452-
33. Samani S. Study of Reliability and Validity of the Buss and Perry's Aggression Questionnaire. IJPCP. 2008; 13(4):
359-365. (In Persian)
34. Achenbach TM, Rescorla LA. Manual for the ASEBA school age: Form & profiles. Burlington, VT: Research
Center for Children, Youth, & Families. 2011.
35. Glosser R. Examination of the relationship between the Child Behavior Checklist/ 6-18 and the Social
Responsiveness Scale Parent Forms using individuals with high functioning autism. Doctoral Dissertation,
Indiana University of Pennsylvania. 2011.
36. Golpayegani F, Bayat B, Majdian V, Aghabozorgi S. Effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy on the
quality of attachment and altruism of the children with externalized behavioral problems. JOEC. 2019; 18(4):
77-88. (In Persian)
37. Bond FW, Hayes SC, Baer RA, Carpenter KM, Guenole N, Orcutt HK, et al. Preliminary psychometric properties
of the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire-II: a revised measure of psychological inflexibility and
experiential avoidance. Behavior Therapy. 2011; 42(4): 676-88.
38. Abbasi A, Fati L, Moulavi R, Zarabi H. Psychometric properties of Persian Version of Acceptance and Action
Questionnaire –II. Psychological methods and models. 2013; 2(10): 65-80. (In Persian)