City Research Online

Familia en lo bueno y lo malo ("Family in the good and the bad"): the experience of emerging adults: a counselling psychology perspective

Douglas-Pennant, C. (2018). Familia en lo bueno y lo malo ("Family in the good and the bad"): the experience of emerging adults: a counselling psychology perspective. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


According to recent figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and Eurostat in England and Wales (2016), 42% of marriages are expected to end in divorce. Existing literature is varied and often contradictory about the implications of this phenomenon for the offspring of divorced parents, proposing evidence for both positive and negative outcomes. The majority of studies have used a quantitative approach to focus on the effects of parental divorce on children and adolescents.

This qualitative study used Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to explore how emerging adults describe their experiences of parental divorce. Semi-structured interviews produced in-depth insights into how respondents made sense of their experiences. The following three key themes emerge: loss, highlighting feelings of grief and disbelief related to the end of the 'family' as respondents had known it; altered reality, in which respondents describe issues related to altered parental relationships and mediating interparental conflict post-divorce; and finally hope and continuity, highlighted the way that emerging adults adapt, adjust and develop coping mechanisms following the divorce of their parents.

The findings expand academic knowledge of the ways in which emerging adults experience parental divorce, and will encourage counselling psychologists working with divorcing couples or with their offspring to remain curious and mindful of the significance of these themes.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
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