Exploring Parental Divorce Among Emerging Adult Women: The Roles of Support Networks and Family Relationships

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What is the experience of parental divorce like when it takes place during emerging adulthood? A phenomenological study examined how parental divorce during emerging adulthood gives meaning to emerging adults’ experiences, specifically with regards to support networks and familial relationships. Fifteen females between the ages of 18 and 25 (M = 21.5) whose parents divorced after age 18 were interviewed. Three themes of meaning emerged from the data: emotional consequences of loss and contradictory coping, involvement in the divorce process, and the evolution (or not) of family dynamics. Results are relevant for psychologists, family therapists, and university mental health programs by providing information on how the experience of parental divorce influences emerging adults’ state of homeostasis, perceptions of the parent–child relationship, and perceived importance of support systems.

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