Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Psychology: Clinical-Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Laura Finan


Given that the United States has one of the highest divorce rates in the world, it is imperative to determine affects it may have on the population, as well as associated events linked to the divorce process (Kennedy & Ruggles, 2014; Kreider & Fields, 2002). One such event is that of custody decisions in the divorcing family, as children’s time and placements need to be secured amidst the change. Although there are many different custody arrangement types, one of the most discussed is that of physical custody and how it is determined by courts. There are many variables considered by the legal system, however, this study sought to determine if individual parental factors (i.e., age and petitioner status), child factors (i.e., number of children, age, and sex), and socioeconomic factors (i.e., parent employment status and income) together were associated with certain types of physical custody arrangements (i.e., shared, sole maternal, or sole paternal arrangements). To investigate how these factors contribute to physical custody decisions, I conducted a multinomial logistic regression analysis of a secondary data source from the Parenting After Divorce Study that took place from 2013 to 2014 (Ferraro et al., 2016). This data included both mothers and fathers who were undergoing divorce and custody proceedings in a southeastern U.S. state. Results indicated that only the main effect of petitioner and, after an exploratory analysis, the total number of children in a family are associated with physical custody outcomes. Findings are discussed in the context of extant literature, as well as limitations and future research directions.


Imported from Fischer_ilstu_0092N_12237.pdf


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