How young adults perceive parental divorce

Shmuel Shulman, Miri Scharf, Daniel Lumer, Offer Maurer

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4 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to examine the extent to which perception of parental divorce among young adults is related to their recounting of the relationships with their parents. Interviews were held with 51 (30 female and 21 male) Israeli young adults involved in a romantic relationship and whose parents had divorced. Participants were asked to talk about how they felt about and understood the divorce currently. In addition, subjects were asked to talk about their relationships with their mothers and fathers. Analyses of young adults' recounts showed the perception of divorce to be multifaceted. They did not describe high levels of anger or current sense of loss but recalled past loss. Yet despite the recalled past loss, young adults described the divorce in an integrative manner. The quality of relationships with fathers more than with mothers was associated with how parental divorce was perceived. Quality of paternal presence during childhood as well as maturity of current relationship with the father, though lower than that with the mother, were related not only to lower levels of anger or sense of loss in the past, but also to a more integrative perception of the divorce and lower sense of current loss. The special role of fathers after divorce is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-17
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Divorce and Remarriage
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2001


  • Fathers
  • Parent-child relationships
  • Parental divorce
  • Young adults


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