Department of Family Therapy Dissertations and Applied Clinical Projects

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Family Therapy


Martha Marquez

Committee Member

Debra Nixon

Committee Member

Robin Cooper


This study examined the lived experiences of adult children of mid-later life parental divorce. It was designed and conducted to address the gap in the current literature regarding this phenomenon. The experiences of 5 Adult Children of Divorce (ACD) ages 25 to 45, who experienced mid-later life parental divorce, were examined using in-depth semi-structured interviews. The researcher employed an interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) of which the findings illustrated various outcomes for adults experiencing their parents’ mid-later life divorce. The results of this study showed that parents’ waiting until the children are “grown” does not mitigate potentially detrimental outcomes for these “adult children.” Some of these concerns shared by the ACDs interviewed included: dealing with the shock of the divorce, the acrimonious parental relationships post divorce, feeling the need to choose sides, effects of the divorce on the ACDs' children, among others. Future studies and implications for the field of marriage and family therapy were offered.

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