This retrospective study of parent loss in emerging adulthood describes essential meanings related to the loss and its ongoing aftereffects for the participants. The respondents were between the ages of 19 and 28 at the time of parent loss, and came to the study 12 to 17 years post-loss, allowing for reflective wisdom about their experience. Using the hermeneutic phenomenology of van Manen, thematic analysis yielded two findings that emerged from transcripts with 12 in-person semi-structured interviews of six participants. The participants each experienced a shattering of their young adult Dream, a developmental step in which one imagines oneself into the adult world. The Dream is experienced as fragile until realized. Some young adult Dreams required the physical presence of the parent, while others did not. Those Dreams that did require the presence of the parent remained the more difficult to reimagine over time. The emerging adults were also confronted with how to adapt their worldview to include the loss of their parent. Those who did had a better resolution of loss, illustrated by moving forward with their lives into satisfying work and life partnerships. Some attempted to reinterpret the loss as compatible with their already existing view, as a way to reduce distress, which led to more limited outcomes. Others were still negotiating their worldview, which as yet felt incompatible with the circumstances surrounding the loss, and which led to persistent ongoing bereavement they were processing at the time of the study.
|Commitee:||Berger, Barbara, Schmidt, Erika|
|School:||Institute for Clinical Social Work (Chicago)|
|Department:||Clinical Social Work|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/1(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Social work, Clinical psychology, Individual & family studies|
|Keywords:||Young adult, Parent loss|
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