Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Adult children's experiences following mid to late life parental divorce
by Loucks, Joleen R., Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2009, 367; 3352616
Abstract (Summary)

Since the late 1980s, there has been an increase in the number of studies looking at the impact of a mid to late life parental divorce on adult children. Most of the studies focus on the parent-child relationship, while no studies assess the adult sibling relationship. This dissertation was designed to provide a better understanding of how and why family relationships, including the parent-child and adult sibling relationships, may be affected by a mid to late life parental divorce.

Using data drawn from in-depth interviews conducted with 40 adult children of divorce (ACD), this study focuses on the ACD's interpretation of the parental divorce experience. The ACD were grouped into categories depending on whether or not they reported being negatively affected initially or not. Characteristics and patterns associated with each of these two groups are explained in great detail, along with plausible explanations as to why some ACD struggle initially while others do not.

The interview focused on the parent-child and adult sibling relationships in the context of the parental divorce. Patterns concerning the parent-child relationship were analyzed, assessing factors that made it more likely for an ACD to have reported a strained parent-child relationship. The conceptual framework of intergenerational ambivalence (Luscher and Pillemer 1998) was utilized to better understand how and why a mid to late life parental divorce has the potential to affect parent-child relationships.

Similarly, patterns based on the data revealed that there were certain factors that made it more likely for the ACD to report a strained adult-sibling relationship. The conceptual framework of intragenerational ambivalence (Connidis 2005) was used to analyze the overall patterns of the adult sibling relationship in the context of the divorce. The final results chapter highlights some of the themes that emerged as ACD reflected on their own personal experience. Positive and negative long-term implications were included along with advice to other young adults who might be going through a mid to late life parental divorce. The dissertation concludes with a discussion of the theoretical, practical, and clinical implications of the results of this study.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Spitze, Glenna
Commitee: Trent, Katherine, Ward, Russel
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: Sociology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 70/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Individual & family studies
Keywords: Adult children, Adult sibling relationships, Family relationships, Intergenerational ambivalence, Mid to late life parental divorce, Parent-child sibling relationships, Parental divorce
Publication Number: 3352616
ISBN: 9781109104769
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