Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Charlene Desir

Committee Member

Elda Kanzki-Veloso


aging population, divorce, family life, family problems, marital instability, older Hispanic adults, Psychology, Behavioral sciences, Social Psychology


The number of older Hispanic adults who experience divorce in late-life is growing. Nonetheless, both minority groups – Hispanics and older adults – are generally misrepresented and disadvantaged while their families disintegrate through divorce. The literature has failed to represent this population by publishing general research methodologies that cannot successfully and accurately describe their reality. Mental health professionals are exposed to contradicting and confusing views regarding their experience of divorce.

This dissertation presents a qualitative case study based on the perspectives of 12 older Hispanic adults in Miami-Dade who experienced divorce in late-life. An analysis of the data revealed that older Hispanic adults perceive their divorce as a challenge and the best alternative to a dysfunctional relationship. They identify divorce as the only way to reach peace and happiness. Participation in a religious support group brings balance, healing, emotional insight, and gradual adjustment.

The knowledge gained from this study contributes to existing literature regarding divorce adjustment, family therapy, multiculturalism, and qualitative studies. It allows researchers and readers to advocate for social change by involving older Hispanic adults who have been largely ignored so far. It also empowers this population group by allowing their stories to be told in their own words.

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