Mechanisms behind Prolonged Effects of Parental Divorce: A Phenomenological Study

Sheala C. Morrison, Stephen T. Fife, Katherine M. Hertlein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Much research has been aimed at evaluating the effect of divorce on children. The effects via the perceptions of adult children of divorce, however, are substantially underrepresented in this literature. Further, the studies that are published are out of date (often 20 years old), thus leading to questions as to whether the effects are the same as described. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to obtain a retrospective analysis directly from adults who experienced their parents’ divorce in childhood to understand what aspects of the divorce, either positive or negative, followed them into adulthood. Specifically, we were interested in learning the mechanisms contributing to such effects. Eight women and 1 man participated in semistructured interviews. Participants identified communication and support as key factors in their experience, both positively and negatively. Implications for clinical treatment are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-63
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Divorce and Remarriage
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2017


  • Children
  • divorce
  • divorce adjustment
  • parental divorce
  • phenomenological


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