Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health

: 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 1596--1600

Investigating the relationship between self-efficacy and emotional divorce among nurses in the city of Rasht, Iran (2015)

Mohammad Hassan Sahebihagh1, Zahra Khorshidi2, Shirin Barzanjeh Atri3, Mohammad Asghari Jafarabadi4,  
1 Department of Community Health Nursing, Tabriz Health Service Management Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
2 Community Health Nursing, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
3 Department of Community Public Health Nursing, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
4 Road Traffic Injury Research Center, Mohammad Asghari Jafarabadi, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

Correspondence Address:
Zahra Khorshidi
Community Health Nursing, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz


Introduction: One of the divorce processes is called emotional divorce which is common in Asian families. In such a condition, couples live together under the same roof due to necessity and compulsion, but they have no constructive and appropriate relationships. Given the positive effects of self-efficacy on the levels of family and marital satisfaction, the purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between self-efficacy and emotional divorce rate among nurses in the city of Rasht in northern Iran. Materials and Methods: This study was a cross-sectional research of correlational type. To this end, 382 qualified nurses from Educational-Medical Centers in the city of Rasht in the north of Iran were selected by systematic quota and random sampling methods. The research instruments consisted of the two-part questionnaire of demographic characteristics and Gottmann's Emotional Divorce Scale as well as General Self-Efficacy Scale by Sherer. To analyze the data, independent t-test and Pearson correlation coefficient methods through the SPSS 19 software were used. Results: The results of this study showed that the mean age of participants was 39 ± 7 years old. In terms of gender, 346 participants (93.5%) were women and 24 (6.5%) were men. Moreover, it was assumed that emotional divorce rate was low, but self-efficacy was at a high level. There was also a significant and inverse correlation between emotional divorce rate and levels of self-efficacy equal to −0.157 (P = 0.002). Conclusion: It was concluded that self-efficacy was effective in all areas. Promoting self-efficacy could lead to a rise in the levels of marital satisfaction and a decline in emotional divorce rate. Therefore, due to the sensitive occupational status of nurses, it was recommended to include life skills training and improved self-efficacy in job promotion planning to enhance the performance of nurses.

How to cite this article:
Sahebihagh MH, Khorshidi Z, Atri SB, Jafarabadi MA. Investigating the relationship between self-efficacy and emotional divorce among nurses in the city of Rasht, Iran (2015).Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:1596-1600

How to cite this URL:
Sahebihagh MH, Khorshidi Z, Atri SB, Jafarabadi MA. Investigating the relationship between self-efficacy and emotional divorce among nurses in the city of Rasht, Iran (2015). Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Sep 23 ];10:1596-1600
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Self-efficacy is kind of assurance a person feels about certain activities.[1] According to Bandura, self-efficacy forms up due to the effects of several resources in an individual which are mostly associated with family and its relationship patterns.[2] Individuals with high levels of self-efficacy can remove obstacles by improving their skills, resist in the face of difficulties, and have more control over surrounding affair, hence understanding self-efficacy can lead to maintaining health-promoting behaviors.[3] As stated by Bandura, a person's self-confidence provides the necessary assurance for successful performance because a person with lower levels of self-efficacy is less committed to accomplish goals, while someone with higher degrees of self-efficacy in a given situation does more challenging things, tries to overcome difficult situations, and remains committed to their goals.[3] In this respect, the results obtained by Mousavi revealed that couples benefiting from high self-confidence believe in their own abilities to deal with problems and they are endowed with higher levels of marital satisfaction and also experience a happier and better life.[2] Likewise, stress from marital conflicts leads to the emergence of irresponsible behaviors,[4] and one of the marital conflicts in this respect is emotional divorce. Divorce may have an open and legal form in which family breaks down; on the other hand, it can have a hidden form in which family only preserves its own outer structure, but it is actually empty in terms of its inner structure, and couples only are living together under the same roof due to necessity and compulsion although deprived form good and constructive emotional relationships.[5] It should be noted that divorce does not happen instantaneously but gradually and with a certain procedure. For example, when couples do not agree to get divorced legally in the United States, they live apart for some time to assess their separation.[6] In fact, separation is a warning for divorce and also a part of the divorce process.[6] In the past five to six decades, divorce rate has surged in a way that 50% of marriages in Norway and 50% of marriages in the United States have ended in divorce or separation.[7],[8] Furthermore, marriage rate in Sweden has declined from 90% to 75% and from 1970 to 2010.[9] The separation rate in Italy has been also reported by 70% between the years 1995 and 2010.[10] In Australia, one of every five marriages has resulted in divorce.[8] In addition, a study by Raymo et al. in Japan has indicated an increasing growth in divorce rate from 12% in 1980 to 17% in 1990.[11] Unfortunately, divorce rate has also unexpectedly risen in Iran [12] so that, in 2011, it has mounted by 45% compared with that in 2006.[13] Official statistics by the National Organization for Civil Registration in Iran has also revealed an increase in divorce rate and Gilan Province and its capital city, i.e., the city of Rasht has been included among the first five provinces in this respect.[14]

Despite attention to the issue of divorce, emotional divorce has been less studied according to the review of the related literature. Thus, due to the effects of divorce,[15],[16] especially emotional divorce; difficult job conditions for nurses such as shift work, long working hours, stressful job, important responsibilities to take care of the sick, and low salaries; impacts of work stress on marital relationships;[17] and the positive effects of self-efficacy on family and marital satisfaction,[18],[19],[20] the main purpose of the present study was to investigate the relationship between emotional divorce rate and levels of self-efficacy in nurses in the city of Rasht in the north of Iran.

 Materials and Methods

This cross-sectional study was conducted in the form of a correlation. The statistical population of this study included all nurses in all Educational-Medical Centers in the city of Rasht in northern Iran. The initial sample size was estimated by Cochran's formula at a significance level of 0.05, and due to the possibility for loss of samples, it was decided to do sampling with a size of 400 individuals. For this purpose, quota sampling method was employed. To select the participants in each Educational-Medical Center, the first individual was selected using simple random sampling and the next individual was chosen through systematic random sampling method. The inclusion criteria in this study were a couple living under the same roof, having at least one child over 2 years old, a history of at least 5 years of married life experience, and lack of mental disorders self-reported by participants. The exclusion criteria in this study included death of a spouse, divorced individuals, having a child aged under 2 years, incomplete questionnaires, and having mental disorders.

The data were collected through Gottmanns Emotional Divorce Scale (GEDS) and General Self-Efficacy Scale (GSES) by Sherer et al. GEDS (1988; translated into Persian by Jazayeri in 2008) was a 24-item instrument developed to measure emotional divorce. The first section of this questionnaire consisted of demographic characteristics of the participants including items such as age, education, spouse's age, spouse's education, length of marriage, age of children, number of children, spouse's occupation, history of familial marriage, and satisfaction with economic status.

The second to sixth sections were associated with relationship between individuals and their original family members. Paragraphs two to six were related to the relationship between individual and he/his family members, relationship with spouse's family, current marital satisfaction, total marital satisfaction, acting for separation from his/her spouse, and the type of the action. Those questions can be answered as 'Good or Normal', 'Average,' and 'Poor'.

The second part which was in fact the main part of the questionnaire included 24 items which could be completed in the form of Yes or No responses. Thus, the method of calculating the scores was that if the number of Yes responses was higher than 8 after their collection, a person was experiencing emotional divorce. Moreover, the internal consistency of GEDS was measured through Cronbach's alpha coefficient method which was equal to 0.91 and its reliability was approved at a desirable level. The given questionnaire was also normalized in a research study by Mami and Asgari (2014) using Cronbach's alpha coefficient method, and 0.83 and 0.87 were obtained for its reliability and validity, respectively.[21],[22]

GSES was developed by Sherer et al.[23] It should be noted that the Persian version of the given questionnaire was used in the present study. This translated version was used by Barati in a study conducted in 1995 (cited in Vaghri, 1998) in which the statistical population included third-grade high school students of the new educational system in Iran. To investigate the validity and reliability of the questionnaire, it was tested on 100 individuals and its internal consistency based on Cronbach's alpha coefficient method was equal to 0.79.[2] The GSES by Sherer et al. was a 17-item scale in which 5 responses had been suggested for each item and they were awarded 5 points. The total score was obtained from the sum of the scores assigned to the items. Therefore, respondents who gained one standard deviation above and below the average were defined as those with high and low self-efficacy, respectively. The internal consistency of GSES by Sherer et al. was confirmed to be desirable and it was equal to 0.87. To comply with ethical issues, the required ethics (code number 46) and sampling approvals were obtained from Tabriz University of Medical Sciences and Guilan University of Medical Sciences, respectively. All the questionnaires were completed within 2 months. Then, the required data were extracted from 382 questionnaires. The sampling time lasted from July to August 2015.

The SPSS 19 (SPSS Inc., IL. Chicago, USA) was used for data analysis. Descriptive statistics (frequency, percentage, mean, and standard deviation) as well as analytic tests including independent t-test and analysis of variance were employed to compare the means. Moreover, Pearson correlation coefficient method was used to determine the relationship between emotional divorce rate and levels of self-efficacy.


The majority of participants were women (93.5%), the level of income was above twenty million Rials (about 700 $) (3.7%), and the mean age of participants was 39 ± 7 years old of them most participants (34.6%) were in the age group of 36–42 years old. In addition, the results showed that the average age of participants' spouses in the present study was 41 ± 6.99 of which most individuals (38.1%) were in the age group below 38 years old. The mean length of marriage among the study participants was 12 ± 6.42 of which the most participants (41.1%) were placed in the group of 5–10 years. The age range of participants' children (37%) was 7–14 years old. Nearly 97.1% of study participants had bachelor's degree and 56.1% of their partners held the same degree, too. In terms of occupational status, 72.5% of participants' spouses in the present study were employed. The results also revealed that 13.4% of participants had familial marriages and 2.4% of them had lived for some time with their partners' family. It was revealed that 69.9% of participants were satisfied with their economic status. Moreover, the results showed that 7.6% of respondents were affected with emotional divorce and 89.5% of them benefited from high levels of self-efficacy.

[Table 1] and [Table 2] illustrated the relationship between emotional divorce rate and self-reported self-efficacy.{Table 1}{Table 2}

According to the correlation coefficient of Pearson scores between emotional divorce and self-efficacy, there is a significant reverse correlation of 0.16 - at a significant level of 0.002.

No significant difference was observed between two groups of below 8 and above 8 for GEDS in terms of self-efficacy scores (P value = 0.609).


The present study aimed at investigating the relationship between emotional divorce rate and self-efficacy in nurses in the city of Rasht in northern Iran. The results showed a significant and inverse correlation between emotional divorce rate and degrees of self-efficacy. In this respect, it was found that nurses endowed with high self-efficacy had higher levels of marital satisfaction, i.e., individuals with higher levels of self-efficacy experienced lower rates of emotional divorce. However, this was not a reason that the chance of emotional divorce in people with high self-efficacy was at a low level. The findings also demonstrated that the levels of self-efficacy in nurses with or without emotional divorce were not different, but it did not mean that individuals with higher levels of self-efficacy did not necessarily experience emotional divorce. According to the review of the related literature, no study consistent with the purpose of the present research was found; therefore, the investigations into the effects and the relationships between self-efficacy and other variables were examined.

A study by Ramezani in the city of Lahijan in Iran showed that logotherapy enhanced self-efficacy and marital satisfaction in women and men engaged in marital conflicts. The results of this study were in line with the findings of this study in which low rates of emotional divorce were reported due to high levels of self-efficacy in nurses.[24] The results of a study by Mohammadyari in Tehran in Iran also revealed a positive relationship between levels of self-efficacy and anxiety.[25] Another research study by Ismailifar and others showed the positive role of self-efficacy in predicting welfare and happiness.[26] Furthermore, an investigation by Saeedifar et al. (2015) in Tehran on Iranian nurses demonstrated a significant relationship between marital satisfaction and mental health.[27] Rajabi's study in an Iranian context also showed that self-efficacy and work-family conflicts were predictors of marital satisfaction.[28] In addition, research in Tabriz in northwestern Iran indicated that self-efficacy could be increased through education.[29]

In a study conducted by Rubio et al. in Spain, a negative correlation was found between self-efficacy and emotional exhaustion.[30] Moreover, the results of a study by Hamidian and Mousavi in Iran revealed that improved marital satisfaction could lead to increased levels of self-efficacy.[2] The results of studies by Bandura [31] and Dane Weiser and Weigel [20] also confirmed the findings of the present study, but it did not mean that individuals with higher levels of self-efficacy were necessarily far from emotional divorce.


Emotional divorce rate in nurses was reported low because of higher levels of self-efficacy although the lower rates were of utmost importance. Nevertheless, given the special and traditional cultural conditions prevailing in Iran, emotional divorce rate was high compared to that in developed countries. Therefore, due to the effects of self-efficacy on other aspects of life, it seemed that education to promote self-efficacy among couples could be a step to lessen emotional divorce rate and prevent family breakdowns. As well, it was recommended to conduct the same studies using an intervention on other groups in society including homemakers and teachers.


We hereby appreciate the officials of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences as the executors of the project and financial supporters of the present study. We also express our heartfelt thanks to nurses in Educational-Medical Centers in the city of Rasht who participated in this project as well as managers of nursing services and supervisors in Educational-Medical Centers who helped us to have access to the study population. The respected president and deputies of Guilan University of Medical Sciences are also acknowledged for their help in facilitating the sampling procedure for the present study.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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