This study examined how parental divorce during emerging adulthood gives meaning to emerging adults’ developmental stage and interpersonal relationships.
The participant sample consisted of 15 females from the Southeastern United States who were between the ages of 18 and 25 (M = 21.5). Qualitative methods were utilized, with a transcendental phenomenological research methodology specifically applied. Interviews were conducted focusing on perceptions of the divorce experience in relation to important aspects of emerging adulthood, namely developmental experiences and interpersonal relationships, primarily intimate partner and dating experiences. NVivo was used to allow a “bottom-up” design, emergent design, and interpretive inquiry for data analysis.
Two major themes emerged from the data: (1) developmental stage facilitates insight into the divorce process and (2) parental divorce leads to contemplating and reconceptualizing perceptions of self and interpersonal relationships.
Results are relevant to researchers, parents, and practitioners as divorce is examined with a developmental lens. Findings suggest that the meaning and impact of parental divorce are distinct for emerging adult children, characterized by awareness and personal reflection. Implications for parenting and practice are provided.
Special thanks go to Rachelle Cucca and Kayla Mason for their aid in the coding and analysis process. Special thanks also go to Jason Hans and Nathan Wood for their encouragement and suggestions for the continuation of this project.
Reed, K., Parker, T.S., Lucier-Greer, M. and Rehm, M.L. (2016), "Exploring How Parental Divorce Provides Meaning to Personal Development and Interpersonal Experiences among Emerging Adult Women", Divorce, Separation, and Remarriage: The Transformation of Family (Contemporary Perspectives in Family Research, Vol. 10), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 251-277. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1530-353520160000010010
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