Living with dad: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis exploring young adults’ childhood experiences of parental divorce
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The divorce process is not a single event or experience, but better explained as a transition which leads to new living arrangements, further accompanied by changes in housing, income, family roles and responsibilities (Berk, 2000). It has been found that those who are closer to both parents after divorce have a higher well-being, however the majority of children only feel close to one parent; most often their mother (Sobolewski and Amato (2007). Although there is profounding amount of divorce literature, there is a failure to consider the effects of living arrangements on parent-child relationships and over all experience of divorce. Aims: This study has two primary aims; to explore the experiences of young adults whom experienced the divorce of the parents, using a balanced view and to focus on children living with their father and the potential benefits this may have on father-child relationships. Method: Five participants whom experienced the divorce of their parents and lived with their father were interviewed about their divorce experience and parent-child relationships. The interviews were later analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Results: After the process of IPA, five superordinate themes were found; emergence of conflict, picking sides, resolve, improved father-child bond and relationship changes. Conclusions The current study highlights the importance of a sufficient amount of time spent between father and child for the development of a good relationship. Participants initially lived with their mother after the divorce of their parents. This was explained as the usual thing to do by the majority of participants. Society currently sees the normal living arrangements for children post-divorce as primarily with their mother and visitation from their father. The statements made by participants indicates that the view of society influences post-divorce living arrangements, therefore a shift in this current view could see an increase in the amount of children who have shared custody and as a result, a better father-child relationship.
B.Sc. (Hons) Psychology
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