Faculty Books and Book Chapters

Empty Nest Syndrome

Chapter Title/Book Title

Empty Nest Syndrome

Book Title

Essays in Developmental Psychology


Randall Summers, Charles Golden, Lisa Lashley, & Erica Ailes


Link to Full Text

Download Full Text

Document Type




Empty nest is a stage in development when children leave the parental home, thus leaving it “empty.” This stage occurs when children are at the age or point in life where they are ready to become independent and create a life of their own. Parents have various reactions to this change. Many parents look forward to this transition and view it as a highly positive event, while others have a more difficult time and deal with what is commonly called the “empty nest syndrome.” Empty syndrome is typically considered a maladaptive reaction to this transition, however this significant phase of life is considered to be a normal developmental event and leaving the home is a natural process of becoming an adult. Parents typically expect their children to leave the home in order to become independent and continue on with their development into adulthood.


empty nest syndrome, maladaptive reaction, mothers' distress, parenting, transition

Publication Date





This is one in a collection of essays as part of a project that began as an encyclopedia of developmental psychology coordinated by Dr. Randall Summers. However, for unforeseen reasons, the publisher was no longer in a position to publish the encyclopedia. This project was undertaken so that thousands of hours of work by psychologists would not go wasted. Enjoy these essays and feel free to cite them using the proper format.

Submit suggestions for corrections and topics to goldench@nova.edu.

Empty Nest Syndrome